Section 12 of the Equality Act 2006 endowed the newly-formed Equality and Human Rights Commission with a responsibility to monitor the progress that society is making towards becoming more equal, and to report on it every three years.
The first such triennial review was published yesterday as How Fair is Britain? Equality, Human Rights and Good Relations in 2010. This alone runs to 750 pages but is supplemented by a raft of specially-commissioned research reports and by submissions in response to a call for evidence. All this documentation can be freely accessed at:
Religion (as measured by religious affiliation) is one of the key equality variables to be monitored, although religious data are not necessarily available for all equality indicators which are covered by the review.
Most of the information used derives from secondary analysis of existing datasets, including, in the case of religion, the Population Census, Annual Population Survey, Labour Force Survey, Citizenship Survey, Health Survey for England, and Wealth and Assets Survey.
There is only occasional new primary data, such as the National Foundation for Educational Research’s online survey of 1,758 English schoolteachers’ attitudes towards religious and other forms of equality in January-February 2010. There is a separate report for this at:
Overall, the review found a Britain far less prejudiced on race and homosexuality than twenty years ago. However, numerous inequalities remain. Specifically, Muslims are shown to experience much disadvantage, in terms of lower educational qualifications, higher unemployment, lower pay, poorer health, and above-average imprisonment.