The cross-party Women and Equalities Select Committee has recommended that the UK Government commission a pilot to establish the costs and benefits of different approaches to voluntary adoption of the socio-economic duty in England. This significant recommendation is based upon evidence provided by members of the 1ForEqualityCampaign including Just Fair, The Equality Trust, Equally Ours and Amnesty International UK.
The recommendation comes in the recently published report on Levelling Up and Equality and directly references evidence of members of the 1ForEquality campaign. In particular the report notes that there is an “oven-ready” solution to addressing socio-economic inequality through the enactment of section 1 of the Equality Act 2010, known as the “socio-economic duty”. Enactment in England would require all public authorities, when making strategic decisions, to have, “due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage.”
The report notes that the socio-economic duty is not a panacea and indeed that,
“it was only possible to understand and tackle the root causes of inequalities by considering the interaction between the whole range of factors, including socio-economic and geographic and those related to one or more protected characteristics and the “intersections” between them.”
However, in making a key recommendation on progressing the socio-economic duty, the Committee has recognised that it a key tool to building a fairer and more equal society.