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Equality Managers predicted to feel full impact of austerity measures

Following weeks of rumours that the Equality Human Rights commission was facing major cut backs, an article in the Guardian newspaper confirms the Quango will need to find as much as 7 million pounds of savings. This amounts to 15% of its annual budget which will be cut as part of the forthcoming government austerity programme.

How does this affect Equality and Diversity practitioners? Until now it has been difficult to predict if austerity measures will impact equality work. Would the new incumbents recognise equality as vital grease needed by a recovering economic machine? Well... no, the planned cuts are now a clear indicator equalities will be offered no favourable treatment, and if an article published in the Mail on Sunday is anything to go by equality is the very area where the axe is likely to fall.
 
“A tough job finding work” written by Dan Atkinson, Mail on Sunday Economics Editor takes a trip down memory lane to the last round of major government cuts to predict what may be in the store for June 22nd 2010. Back in the eighties the then Conservative government employed some ruthless cuts in the public sector. Coal Miners, Steel Workers and many of the Blue Collar where obliterated to the extent they are almost nonexistent on today’s public sector payroll. He argues a new generation of “Social Administrators” will suffer a similar fate. He states “It is these new types of State workers, the desk jockeys of 'paradigm shifting' and 'gender outreach', who face the chop”.
 
Predicting our complete demise he concludes that in the same way coal miners struggled to transfer their skills in the private sector, “disemployed equality co-ordinators” will suffer a similar fate” he concludes. Gulp!
 
The idea that equalities work is massively misunderstood and unappreciated by the masses is brutally reflected by the tone of Mr Atkinson article. What is even more unsettling is the fact until the point EHRC cuts had been announced a major scale back on equality could have been dismissed as paranoid thinking. Let’s hope it still is for the sake of the economy.
 
Dan Atkinson’s article can be read here
 

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