Friday 16 July 2021
The Committee for Employment & Social Security has published a lengthy rebuttal following the release of a report from the Guernsey Policy and Economic Group about the proposals for anti-discrimination legislation, which were approved by the States in July 2020.
Deputy Peter Roffey, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, described GPEG's report as a "non-evidenced, unsubstantiated opinion piece masquerading as a well-researched report, but one that is full of inaccuracies".
The Committee has felt the need to clarify in significant detail so that claims by GPEG, which has issued numerous statements in recent months seeking to generate concern about the proposals voted through by the States to introduce anti-discrimination legislation largely in line with the UK, are not taken as fact by those reading them.
The President's full response on behalf of the Committee, which goes through the GPEG report in detail, can be read here www.gov.gg/discrimination. It says GPEG's report is littered with inaccuracies including, but not limited to:
- GPEG confusing different versions of the discrimination legislation proposals
- inaccurate references to the discrimination legislation policy letter as debated in July 2020
- inaccurate descriptions of legislation elsewhere
- claims around costs that are completely unsubstantiated
- considerable misunderstandings of various aspects of the legislation being prepared locally
- pushing concerns about the definition of disability based on misconceptions and misinterpretation.
Deputy Roffey said:
'We felt compelled to issue a lengthy rebuttal to GPEG's report for a couple of reasons. Firstly, GPEG seem intent on issuing public commentary on the approved proposals for anti-discrimination legislation on a monthly basis and without correcting their wide-ranging, but remarkably consistent, inaccuracies; there is a concern they might stick as "fact". Secondly, and to perfectly illustrate our first reason for responding, I was concerned to read the Editor of the Guernsey Press describe GPEG's concerns as valid and worth hearing. Quite simply the GPEG report contains so many inaccuracies that any "valid points" they may be intending to make are somewhat lacking in credibility.
'The report also doesn't appear to present much by the way of actual evidence, which means as presented it appears to me to be more of a non-evidenced, unsubstantiated opinion piece masquerading as a well-researched report, but one that is full of inaccuracies. I am also very concerned about some of the language used in GPEG's report. Phrases such as "minority sexual habits" and "abnormal lust" have no place in discussions around anti-discrimination.
'GPEG concludes that it wants a "pause and review" - islanders will have heard that phrase before - but they're simply barking up the wrong tree. The States will already have the chance to review the draft legislation when it returns to the States - and the rest of the community will be able to see the legislation and lobby States Members in advance of the debate if they feel it necessary. It is more than seven years since the States approved the principle of implementing disability discrimination legislation. We have paused and reviewed for long enough already.
'Lastly, I have said this before and I'll no doubt say it again, if you are already a good employer that treats your staff with respect and supports them in the workplace if they have additional needs, then you have nothing to fear from anti-discrimination legislation. No amount of attempted scaremongering is going to change that.'