All remaining unequal

The government now prefers to talk of fairness rather than equality. So where does that leave marginalised communities? Jessica Smith and Stuart Speeden report

For a decade, we have seen the development of an equality and human rights framework across Britain that has been concerned with delivering equality of opportunity, fair and equal services, and anti-discrimination.

Although the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has given its support to this agenda through its Equality Strategy published in December 2010, there are growing concerns that the policy framework currently being pursued by the government represents, at best, a weakened commitment and, at worst, a retreat from equality as a central aim of government policy.

Since coming to power, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has introduced a range of policies designed to reform the relationship between the centre and the local and to change the way public services are delivered.

From the Big Society and localism agendas to welfare and health reforms, the pace and scale of change proposed by the government has been striking.

While there has been much debate about the coalition’s approach, relatively little has been said about what current policies mean for equalities issues. Yet the impact of government cuts on the equalities sector is already being felt.