Mr Baker should think again

Mark Bonham-Carter

A recent study of the effectiveness of anti-discrimination legislation in the field of employment has proved a puzzle.[*] Conceived by the Policy Studies Institute in 1987, it was surprisingly funded by the Home Office: ‘surprisingly’ because Home Office support would lead one to conclude that the Government was seriously considering the need to amend the Race Relations Act 1976 – which would have seemed an unlikely intention in the Thatcher years. Alternatively, the Home Office might have hoped the report would conclude that legislation in this area was a mistake, a view expressed on television by Sir John Wheeler, Conservative chairman of the Select Committee on Home Affairs – if so, those hopes were disappointed.

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[*] Racial Justice at Work: Enforcement of the Race Relations Act 1976 in Employment, by Christopher McCrudden, David Smith and Colin Brown, Policy Studies Institute, 320 pp., £35, 7 June, 0 85374 470 X.