Government urged to give equality tax breaks

Alex Gourlay, managing director of Boots, told HR magazine Personnel Today that businesses would be more likely to improve diversity if legislative requirements were balanced with financial incentives.

Gourlay suggested offering a tax break to businesses would provide an incentive for a healthy approach to diversity.

“There’s an alternative way to encourage positive behaviour, rather than the negative behaviour of ‘how do I employ three people I don’t really want as they’re not right for the business, but if I don’t I get a cross in the box?’” he said.

The comments came after a ‘raft’ of new proposals to improve diversity were revealed in the EU’s draft Equality Bill, including new rules requiring companies to report average earnings as a way to resolve unequal pay.

Last week, Dianah Worman, diversity adviser for the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), said the UK needs to do more to promote the business case for diversity if significant progress is to be made.

“Law on its own is simply not enough. The government needs to engage employers to take action because it makes business sense,” she said.

“They should publish easily accessible practical guidance for employers to follow, and instigate a national education and awareness campaign with signposts to help and support.

“Failing to do this will short-change the UK economy at a time when business needs all the help it can get. Diversity needs to be demystified and good practice communicated down to the grass roots, where a real difference can be made,” she added.