This is unbelievable. The government is handing over the running of its discrimination helpline to G4S.
You read that right. G4S stands accused of assaulting children in a UK young offenders’ unit, of torturing prisoners in South Africa, of putting the life of an unborn child at risk while deporting a wheelchair-using pregnant woman, of unlawfully killing a man who was being deported to Angola, and of ripping off British taxpayers to the tune of millions.
And now the government wants the company to run a helpline to support those facing discrimination or human rights abuses.
Will you sign our petition telling the new minister for women and equalities that G4S shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near sensitive contracts like this one?
Justine Greening: Don't hand the government's discrimination helpline over to G4S!
The Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) is a lifeline for people facing human rights issues or discrimination on the grounds of disability, race or gender. It’s there to support people who have, for example, been refused housing because of their race, or been made redundant because of their age or disability. With hate crimes and discrimination on the rise, that kind of support is more important than ever right now.
Now the government is handing the service over to a company with a dire track record when it comes to human rights -- a company that routinely puts private profits over public safety. The catalogue of G4S’s terrible record is long. It has abused, assaulted and killed. It recently left a dialysis patient stranded at home after taking over the contract for patient transport in Kent. In Lincolnshire, control room staff were suspended for making bogus 999 calls to improve their perceived performance. And the company has been caught overcharging taxpayers by millions -- while dodging its own taxes.
The helpline used to be run by an independent body called the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), but the government outsourced it in 2012. Now a House of Lords review has said that outsourcing has failed and recommended returning it to the EHRC. But the government has ignored that advice -- and decided to award the contract to G4S.
The decision is a kick in the teeth to everyone who faces disability, race or gender discrimination. We’ve come together before to stop the government from outsourcing essential public services. Let’s speak up again now.
Let’s tell Justine Greening to hand the discrimination helpline back to the EHRC!