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Though the light is soon to go out on her forgettable premiership, prime minister Theresa May is still, right to the end, announcing things.
For the PM has today revealed the all new Office for Tackling Injustices (OfTI), which has been designed to tackle ‘social injustices’, with gender and disability inequalities in housing part of its remit.
It’s hoped that OfTI will facilitate governments of the future (whether or not they’re led by Boris Johnson) with more effective, data-driven, evidence-based stuff to help combat society’s many horrible disparities.
Following the approach taken by the Race Disparity Audit, which uses data to analyse how ethnicity affects experience of public services, the new body will place an emphasis on uncovering data that is either currently unreliable or available.
The body will use data to drive the regime of the day to look at gender and disability inequalities in the workplace and in housing.
‘I have demanded that if disparities cannot be explained, they must be changed,’ said PM May, rather glibly as she’s off in a couple of weeks, adding ‘But there is more to be done now and in the years to come, using the power of data, gathered from extensive sources, to spotlight key injustices and provide the catalyst for better policy solutions.’
According to the government, women generally enter the workplace with higher qualifications than men but are paid less at entry level, and only 32% of disabled private renters say their accommodation was suitable – if only prime minister May had risen to a position of extreme power she might have been able to do something about these rife disparities. Alas.
According to MP Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Women and Equalities, OfTI will ‘provide accountability’. We shall see.
Mordaunt MP said: ‘We know that high quality data and evidence are important tools in tackling inequality, we need to know how well we are tackling injustice and the impact on people’s lives.’
Maria Miller MP, chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, is delighted: ‘I’m delighted that the government is taking seriously its commitment to this agenda.
‘The sorts of social justice issues the prime minister has highlighted require a sustained focus based on good evidence.
‘The Women and Equalities Select Committee welcomed the approach taken by the Race Disparity Audit and I hope the Office for Tackling Injustices can take this further – with additional independent challenge.’
Meanwhile, Simon Woolley OBE, director of Operation Black Vote and chairman of the Race Disparity Audit, had this to say: ‘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.
‘I will do all I can to support and champion this new Office, which I believe 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.’