UK Politics

Theresa May announces body to tackle social injustice

Theresa May Image copyright AFP

Theresa May has announced plans for a new body to monitor government efforts to tackle "deep-seated societal injustice".

The outgoing prime minister said an Office for Tackling Injustices (OfTI) would use data to "provide the catalyst" for better policies.

The pledge to combat "burning injustices" was one she made during her first speech as PM in 2016.

But Labour said Mrs May had failed to tackle injustices while in office.

The new body would collect evidence on disparities in areas including socio-economic background, ethnicity, gender, disability and sexual orientation.

Downing Street said it would gather information where there was currently a lack of reliable data, but it would not make policy recommendations.

Mrs May said: "I am proud of what we have achieved to make the UK a more just society.

"But there is more to be done now and in the years to come, if we are truly to say that this is a country which works for everyone."

She added that policies such as mandatory reporting on the gender pay gap had shown how data could be used to tackle existing cases of injustice.

Number 10 said the new body would follow the approach taken by the Race Disparity Audit, which analyses how a person's ethnicity impacts how they experience public services.

When it first published data in October 2017, it showed disparities in educational attainment, health, employment and treatment by police and courts between ethnicities.

'Three failed years'

In response, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: "On her first day in office, the prime minister promised to tackle burning injustices, but instead gave us the Windrush scandal.

"Three failed years later, in her last days, she's decided to set up an office.

"The only way to tackle burning injustices is the election of a Labour government that will transform our country so it works for the many not, the few."

Race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust said it welcomed more data collection and the aim of ensuring future governments focus on tackling injustice.

But it added: "Data by itself doesn't create change, which needs more concrete actions and policies to tackle decades of racial inequalities."

Mrs May's announcement comes as 160,000 eligible party members continue to vote for either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership contest, with Mrs May's successor due to be named on 23 July.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Mrs May warned that "too many people in politics" think being prime minister is all about wielding power.

"All too often those who see it as a position of power see it as about themselves and not about the people they are serving. There is a real difference," she said.

The two leadership contenders will face one-on-one interviews with Andrew Neil later, which will be broadcast on BBC One at 19:00 BST.

Related Topics

More on this story