In the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget yesterday there was an announcement in the ‘small print’ which takes rights away from people with HIV – the protection against ‘dual discrimination’.
The Equality Act 2010 for the first time prohibited what is known as ‘dual discrimination’, where someone is discriminated against because of a combination of two characteristics – for example someone who is an older woman may be discriminated against not just because she is a woman or because she is older, but because of the combination of these characteristics (think of recent debate over discrimination against older women television presenters).
People with HIV can experience dual discrimination – because they are gay and have HIV, or because they are African and have HIV. NAT worked with many human rights organisations to secure the provision in the Equality Act 2010 which prohibited such dual discrimination. In the ‘Plan for Growth’ published along with the Budget, the Government announced this protection will not be implemented.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), comments:
‘We condemn the Government’s refusal to implement protection against dual discrimination – this is a backward step in the struggle for the rights of people with HIV and indeed many others who experience dual discrimination.
We seem to be back in the bad old days where human rights were thought somehow to harm the economy. The Government should realise that ending all forms of discrimination in the workplace is not anti-business but provides us with the best possible workforce. We urge the Government to change its mind and take a stand for fairness.’