Speaking in the House of Commons last night (21 November), Barbara urged Ministers to make Greater Manchester the home of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR).
The CEHR will be formed from a merger of the existing Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), the Disability Rights Commission (DRC), and the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). The EOC and the DRC currently both have their headquarters in Manchester’s Arndale Tower, while the CRE has a regional office in the city. Over 200 people currently work for the three existing organisations, and this would be likely to increase substantially if the new single body were based in Greater Manchester.
Giving her support to the creation of the new Commission, Barbara added:
“I naturally hope [it] will be based in Manchester, or even nearby in Salford.”
“The Equal Opportunities Commission has obviously long flourished in Manchester. I hope that we can get away from believing that we can work on policy only here in the metropolis. For our party conferences and policy making we move around the country, and of course, all the groups that need to be consulted on issues also live in Greater Manchester.”
“I welcome the [new Equalities] Bill, which is the biggest step forward for the law on equality for many years and creates a body, wherever it is located—I hope that it will be in the north-west—that will integrate the three pillars of equality, diversity and human rights and work to promote good relations."