Government website asks: Should Equality Act be scrapped?

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A government website asks members of the public whether the Equality Act should be scrapped completely.

Red Tape Challenge is designed to help ministers identify “burdensome” legislation and “pointless or outdated rules”.

The Equality Act, which came into force last year, is one of the laws on the website. It consolidated existing laws on discrimination and gay rights, among other issues.

Members of the public are asked whether it should be “scrapped altogether”, “merged with existing legislation”, simplified or left as it is.

There are currently more than 1,000 replies, with many urging ministers to keep gay rights protections.

Paul Martin, chief executive of the Lesbian & Gay Foundation said: “[We believe] scrapping the Equality Act would be disastrous for LGB&T people, as well as many others, and we are urging everyone to go on to the website and leave your own comments about why the Equality Act is important, and please encourage your staff, supporters, friends, colleagues and any networks you have access to respond too.”

A government spokesman said ministers were committed to equality but wanted to know if people think the Act is a “bad idea”.

He said: “The questions that are asked in the website are standard for every piece of legislation or regulation. The government is committed to our recently published Equality Strategy and the Equality Act is the main piece of legislation in this area. People should not draw any conclusions about the questions asked or the Equality Act’s presence on the website. The important thing is to let us have your views.

“We want to know whether people think the Equality Act is well designed and provides vital protections, or if they think it is badly designed, badly implemented or simply a bad idea.”