Government spending review: Equality watchdog looks set for huge cuts


The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) looks set to face a cut to its budget of at least 40 per cent, according to government figures.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) announced this week – as part of the government’s spending review – that its own spending would be cut from £76 million this year to £47.1 million in 2014-15, a reduction of 38 per cent.

As almost four-fifths of the GEO’s budget is spent on the EHRC – £62 million this year – it appears inevitable that cuts of about 40 per cent will also be made to the EHRC budget.

A GEO spokesman said the department was still deciding how its spending settlement would impact on the EHRC and its other work.

But he added: “Around 75 to 80 per cent of our budget at the moment goes to the EHRC so you can see where that is heading.”

The GEO is working on proposals for reforming the EHRC and handing some of its current functions to government departments, or even the private and voluntary sector.

The GEO spokesman said: “We want [them]to focus on their work as an equality and human rights regulator.”

But he added: “We do not want to speculate on what specific parts of their functions might go to other departments or to the GEO or the third sector or private organisations. We are still looking at that.”

An EHRC spokeswoman said: “They are going to put forward proposals. Those proposals will be subject to consultation and our board will consider them and respond to them.”

In a statement, the GEO said it would concentrate in the future on “promoting a fair and flexible labour market, changing culture and attitudes, promoting civic society and supporting equality through a streamlined legislative and policy framework”.

21 October 2010