Monday, 4 May 2015

General Election Special- Which Party Packs the Punch on Prejudice?

At FYFT we recognize that the right to vote is something which empowers us as political and social beings and allows us to be heard and have our part in making change happen.  We think that everyone who can should inform themselves and use this precious right to vote.

This right has been hard fought for; until 1832 only men who owned property could vote while women denied the right to vote until 1928.

As the campaign for the General Election is coming to a close with polling day happening on Thursday 7th May, we decided to ask the main parties what they have to say about prejudice and what they plan to do about it. 

We have put together a summary of what they told us they plan to do with political power to combat inequality, discrimination and prejudice.



Conservatives


Our spokesperson from the Scottish Conservatives told us that the party are "committed to listening to disabled people in order to better understand how government can effectively support them and ensure they are able to play a full role in society." 

By 2020 the Conservatives want 20% of new recruits in the police to be from Black, minority and ethnic backgrounds, and in the armed forces at least 10%, with a view to increase this number to 20%. They also want to increase BME representation by 20% in jobs, apprenticeships, education and owning businesses as well as having greater representation within the Conservative Party itself.  

The development of Personal Independence Payments is according to the party, "grounded in a more modern understanding of disability, including mental health conditions and fluctuating conditions."

In terms of promoting gender equality in the workplace, Scottish Conservatives have made the commitment to implement a childcare voucher to improve the choice and flexibility over the funded childcare hours to which parents are entitled.

Labour


The Labour Party told us that their "aim is to make sure our national institutions, including our Parliament, the police, judiciary, civil service and the boardrooms of our companies, are more representative of the diversity of our country."

Labour promise to abolish the bedroom tax, acknowledging that over two thirds of those affected it are disabled or have a disabled family member. The party also pledge reforms to the Work Capability Assessment; focusing instead on the support disabled people need to get into work and having an independent panel of disabled people monitor it.

In terms of tackling gender equality,  Labour would require large companies to publish their gender pay gap and would strengthen the law against maternity discrimination and  would enforce the relevant provisions within the Equality Act. Scottish Labour claim that they will also continue to work towards our goal of a 50:50 Scottish Parliament.

Liberal Democrats


The Liberal Democrats "believe nobody should be treated differently because of their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or beliefs."  

The party's key promises in the fight against prejudice include the promise to work with schools to stamp out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. The party also promise legislation to make homophobic and transgender phobic chanting at football matches illegal.

To tackle the gender pay gap, the LibDems propose that companies with over 250 employees will have to publish information on the difference between the pay of men and women in their company. 

The LibDems claim that they will commission a full review of discrimination in the criminal justice system and work with police forces to ensure more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic police officers are recruited.

SNP


Our spokesperson for the SNP said that addressing "the unacceptable levels of inequality in Scottish society" is at the heart of the party's manifesto.

The party are concerned with the need to have more equal representation of men and women in public life. In the event of further devolution the SNP propose to ensure 50% female representation on public boards and pledge to press for the same step to be taken for UK wide public bodies, whilst encouraging the new UK government to work with the private sector to increase the number of women represented at the most senior levels in major companies.With powers over equalities devolved, the SNP would bring forward an Equal Pay (Scotland) Bill to finally deliver equal pay law that works for women in Scotland.

The party claim they will seek to maintain the protections provided by the Equality Act 2010 and will ask the government to "engage with key stakeholders on potential improvements" as well as  supporting calls to establish a Race Committee to advise the work of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.


Green Party


According to the party’s principles: “Disability is something imposed on people’s impairments by the way they are unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society. Disabled people are therefore an oppressed group in society.” Recognising the social nature of disability, and therefore its relation to poverty, the Green Party commit to furthering policies directed towards the social, political as well as economical empowerment of disabled people.

The party aims to gradually transfer the rights and responsibilities deriving from nationality to residence. In this spirit, their revision of the nationality law would certify among others that all children born in the UK will be in receipt of it automatically.

The party  holds the belief that migration policies should not discriminate on grounds of race, colour, religion, political belief, disability, sex or sexual orientation, and intend to revise the current immigration law to ensure this reflecting thus their opposition to exclusionary policies against non-Europeans in Europe. The Greens also want to combat prejudice and discrimination against Gypsies and other travelers by increasing legal protection. 

The party views the enforcement of heterosexuality as a violation of human rights and is committed to repeal the ban on same-sex civil marriage. All legislation on equality and diversity should namely address LGBT and transgender people so they are given explicit protection against discrimination.



Hailey Maxwell

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