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The Equality Act, which gained Royal Assent on April 8, is intended to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. According to information on the Government's website, www.direct.gov.uk, it will help to narrow the gap between rich and poor; require businesses to report on pay for men and women; outlaw age discrimination; and significantly strengthen Britain's anti-discrimination legislation.
Nine major pieces of legislation and around 100 other measures have been replaced by the Act, which, the website says, is written in plain English to make it easier to understand.
The provisions in the Equality Act will come into force at different times, to allow time for people to prepare for them. The new Coalition Government is currently considering how the different provisions will be introduced ‘so that the Act is implemented in an effective and proportionate way’.
In the meantime, the Government Equalities Office continues to work on the basis of the previously announced timetable, which envisaged commencement of the Act's core provisions in October 2010.
More information is available at www.direct.gov.uk