The Equality and Human Rights Commission has said that it is to conduct an assessment into the Coalition government's Comprehensive Spending Review, announced last month.

According to the EHRC the Treasury is bound by law to pay "due regard" to equality and must consider whether any of its decisions will have a "disproportionate impact" on "protected groups". The EHRC went on to claim that should a public body find that a "protected group" will suffer disproportionately then it must "consider what actions can be taken to avoid, mitigate or justify that impact".

While the EHRC stressed that it's launching of an assessment should not be taken as evidence that the Treasury has failed to comply with equalities law, the quango said that it would issue a compliance notice to the Treasury should it find any breaches.

Should the Treasury refuse to abide by any potential compliance notice, the EHRC said it could force the government to comply with a court order.

The EHRC said that following its assessment it would be issuing a final report in the summer.

The EHRC was one of the public bodies that was not torched in the "bonfire of the quangos" announced last month by the government, meaning that it free to continue doing its work with public funds.