The Accessible Britain Challenge

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The vision of the Accessible Britain Challenge is for communities to become more inclusive and accessible by engaging and working with disabled people to remove barriers that get in the way of them being full and active contributors in their community.

Mark Harper, Minister of State for Disabled People launched the Accessible Britain Challenge on Thursday 4 September 2014.

To support the challenge, the Government has also published:

Scottish Government call for powers on female boards

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In August 2014, the Scottish Government called for further powers to deliver at least 40 per cent female representation on public boards.

In a letter to the Department of Culture Media and Sports, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Equalities Shona Robison calls for the transfer of competence for Equalities legislation so that Scotland can ‘take definitive positive action that will lead to meaningful change in boardrooms’.

Launch of ‘Best Use of Stop and Search scheme’

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On 26 August 2014, Home Secretary Theresa May officially launched a new scheme to reform police use of stop and search powers.

While stop and search is undoubtedly an important police power, when it is misused it can be counter-productive. It can be an enormous waste of police time and, when innocent people are stopped and searched for no good reason, it is hugely damaging to the relationship between the police and public.

The Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary in April, is designed to contribute to a significant reduction in the overall use of stop and search, deliver better and more intelligence-led stop and search, and improve stop-to-arrest ratios. It will also provide the public with further information on the outcome of searches.

Liberal Democrats policy paper: Expanding Opportunity, Unlocking Potential

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The Liberal Democrats policy paper: Expanding Opportunity, Unlocking Potential was published in September 2014.

This policy paper lays out what Liberal Democrats regard as some of the most pressing areas in individual and community equality today. It tackles inequality and diversity thematically addressing the themes of employment and opportunity, health and wellbeing, inclusive environments, and citizens and the State – at home and abroad. On each theme it makes a number of detailed recommendations toward eliminating the prejudice and discrimination that remains based on race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation to break down entrenched forms of privilege and inequality.

 

Criminalisation of forced marriage

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Legislation introduced on 16 June 2014 makes forcing someone to marry against their will a criminal offence.

The maximum penalty for the new offence of forced marriage is seven years imprisonment.

Law enforcement agencies will also be able to pursue perpetrators in other countries where a UK national is involved under new powers defined in legislation.

Home Office Circular 010/2014: new forced marriage offences provides details.