Employers are being forced to spend around £1 billion complying with equality legislation, a report has suggested.
The report comes with a warning that current equality legislation is “in pursuit of a false utopia of absolute equality for all”.
The previous Government’s controversial Equality Act, which came into force last year, faced widespread criticism.
Business chiefs warned the equality legislation would bring extra beaurocracy and cost burdens.
And Christians were concerned about a duty contained in the legislation for public bodies – like schools, hospitals and the police – to promote homosexual and transsexual ‘rights’.
Now The Rise of the Equalities Industry, published by think-tank Civitas, has put the cost of equality monitoring at £300m-£400m a year across the whole private sector.
The report estimates equality monitoring in the public sector as a whole could cost “around £600 million”.
The figures led to a newspaper commentator calling for the “entire equalities industry” to be “abandoned as an unaffordable luxury”.
In a press release Civitas warn: “Originally established to underpin equality before the law, equality legislation today is perversely undermining that very principle of fair treatment.
“This is in pursuit of a false utopia of absolute equality for all.
“But this pursuit will remain completely unrealistic while free people are able to take different decisions, have different aims in life and, inevitably, experience different outcomes. Greater equality of condition can only be achieved with less diversity.”
It also warns against “trying to force everyone down a predetermined path to a government-mandated ‘outcome'”.
The report was written by sociology professor Peter Saunders.
Minette Marrin, a columnist with The Sunday Times, said: “The old ideas of equality under the law and equality of opportunity have given way to more confused ideas about equality of outcome and special treatment under the law for some people under some circumstances.”
She commented: “If the costs are really as great as these estimates suggest, or perhaps even greater, then the entire equalities industry should be abandoned as an unaffordable luxury.”