Prime Minister urged to match words with action on injustice

12 Jul 19
The Office for Tackling Injustices, a new watchdog announced by prime minister Theresa May today, has been met with scepticism by charities and think-tanks.

A key task of the new independent body will be to collect data and ascertain if certain groups of people are being unfairly discriminated against or held back from getting on in life.

The OfTI will seek to reduce disparities in areas like ethnicity, gender, disability and sexual orientation.

“Deep-seated societal injustice requires a long-term focus and cannot be eliminated overnight,” May said.

The new body will use “the power of data, gathered from extensive sources, to shine a spotlight on key injustices and provide the catalyst for better policy solutions,” she said.

But social justice organisations have warned that the prime minister’s words must be followed up by action.

Claire Ainsley, executive director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “Theresa May was right to condemn the ‘burning injustices’ blighting Britain when she took to the steps of Downing Street in 201t6, but it is action that counts. “

She added: “Our analysis shows no improvement in the justices she identified during her tenure. More people are being caught by the rising tide of poverty, which disproportionately affects women, black, Asian and ethnic minority people, and people with disabilities.”

And Fahmida Rahman, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Today’s announcement of an official body for monitoring social injustices is a welcome move to hold future governments’ feet to the fire in tackling the multiple disadvantages and discrimination that too many people across Britain still face. “

However, she added: “Ultimately it is action to address, rather than data to monitor, social injustice that matters.”

Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote and chair of the advisory group to the race disparity audit commented: “As the Office for Budget Responsibility acts as an independent watchdog over the public finances, so will the Office for Tackling Injustices objectively assess the government’s progress towards social justice.”

He welcomed the new body, which he claims will “become a shining beacon that not only shines necessary lights on those injustices the Prime Minister cares about such as gender equality, social mobility and race inequality, but also a powerful bulwark for change.”

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