Press Release: 24 November 2009

On 19 November, Mark Harper MP, Conservative member for the Forest of Dean, outlined the Opposition’s key objections to the Single Equality Bill, the aim of which is to harmonise and strengthen equality legislation in the UK.

Mr Harper said “his party feels the proposed clause on Positive Action ‘may be used to employ less able workers”.

The new Bill allows for employers, when recruiting or promoting an employee, to consider the under representation of certain communities within their workforce when deciding on a successful applicant. This is strictly defined as only allowable when both applicants are equally qualified. It is not a blanket policy of favouring certain communities. 

Dr Theo Gavrielides, Chief Executive of ROTA, said: “Missing yet another opportunity to put things right for under-represented groups in British society is unacceptable. ROTA remains convinced that strengthening positive action is an important means of avoiding perpetuating inequality across generations, and calls for Peers and MPs to support the proposed clauses. ROTA will work hard over the next month to help dispel the myths surrounding this clause and provide examples of best practice.”

ROTA’s work on the Single Equality Bill is supported by the Winning the Race Coalition – a coalition of equality and other third sector organisations.



  1. For further information, please contact Dr Theo Gavrielides on; 020 7902 1966.
  2. ROTA has produced Policy Briefing issue 25 – Positive Action in the Single Equality Bill: myths and facts. Download it here.
  3. Race on the Agenda (ROTA) is one of the UK’s leading social policy think tanks focusing on issues affecting Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. Originally set up in 1984, ROTA aims to increase the capacity of BAME organisations and strengthen the voice of BAME communities through increased civic engagement and participation in society.

Get further information about the Winning the Race Coalition here.