Published On: 6 November 2023Tags: , , , ,

As King Charles III prepares to outline the government’s legislative agenda in his ceremonial Speech tomorrow, attention should focus on two major reform bills affecting mental health care and renters’ rights. Although both measures still face hurdles on the road to passage, their inclusion would signal a commitment to tackling long standing inequalities:

The Mental Health Act Reform Bill aims to overhaul an outdated legal framework that has led to disproportionate involuntary detention of Black and ethnic minority people. Proposed changes emphasise patient autonomy and aim to reduce involuntary hospitalisations. Its passage would be a step forward in helping to modernise mental health care and eliminate racial inequalities. 

The Renters Reform Bill takes a closer look at our private rental market. It would abolish unfair “no-fault” evictions and strengthen renters’ security and rights. This bill has taken some time to proceed through to legislation, and the government now says full protections likely won’t take effect until 2025 due to the need for court reforms. Continued delays risks worsening an already dire housing crisis. Low-income renters and ethnic minority people suffer most from unaffordable, unstable rentals that damage health and push people into homelessness.  

Jabeer Butt, Race Equality Foundation Chief Executive says:

“With an election looming, we hope lawmakers will seize these final chances to enact meaningful change. Reforming mental health laws and renters’ rights should be top priorities. Inadequate housing and healthcare disproportionately affect Black, Asian and ethnic minority people. Passing these bills would significantly improve millions of lives. The time for excuses and delays has passed.”