Fair Way to Go for Equality; HOT on the Heels of the Consolidation of UK Discrimination Legislation into the Equality Act, the Equality and Human Rights Commission Has Produced an Extensive Report Setting out - in More Than 700 Pages - Their Research on Fairness in Britain. MAX WINTHROP Considers Its Conclusions

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women in their 20s, although still favours men, but a comparison of men and women in their 40s shows the pay gap reaching 27%.

It is perhaps ironic that one characteristic which is not given protection is any difference based on socio-economic background, or what might have been called "class".

However, the commission''s report suggests that the performance of white British boys on free school meals at GCSE is the lowest of any group regardless of gender or ethnicity. Will all such findings to be used as the basis for bringing into force the public sector duty regarding socio-economic equality as set out in section one of the new Equality Act? Winthrop Little debate seems to be encouraged as to whether we want to ensure equality of opportunity, or equality of outcomes and this report seems to suggest issues that go way beyond merely differences in gender.

Whilst the public sector has been living with the complexities of equal pay legislation for some years now, this report may give ammunition to those who want to see the battle moved to the private sector. Rightly, equality and fairness are now accepted as the benchmarks to judge social and economic relations: ultimately it will be for time to tell how effective the commission will be in promoting this agenda.

Max Winthrop is head of Employment Law at Short Richardson & Forth LLP and is an expert on equal pay issues WHEN it comes to pay equality the commission has stated that the gender pay gap between men and women in full-time work is "grinding to a halt". …