London, June 26 : White men in Britain could be blocked from jobs and promotions under a so-called equality drive unveiled by the Labour Party on Thursday.
Instead women and ethnic minorities will be favoured in the workplace under a new Bill to be revealed by Equalities Minister Harriet Harman.
Harman defended the controversial plans to encourage firms to discriminate in favour of female and ethnic minorities job candidates, the Daily Express repotred.
The new Equalities Bill is also expected to force employers to disclose salary structures in a bid to make the pay gap between men and women more transparent.
Responding to criticism that the plans could discriminate against White men, Harman said "you don't get progress if there isn't a bit of a push forward."
Critics blasted the measure as an unworkable piece of political correctness that will see good candidates overlooked for jobs in the interests of positive discrimination.
Tory MP Mark Pritchard said: "Everyone supports equal rights, but special rights cause resentment, do nothing for community cohesion and do not tackle racial prejudice. This is another example of political correctness which will not achieve an improvement in equality."
And John Midgley of the Campaign Against Political Correctness said: "There is nothing positive about positive action or discrimination. It is counter-productive and potentially racist and sexist. This is typical of Harriet Harman, who must be the most politically correct MP."
Under the new measures, firms will be able to favour the ethnic minority job applicant between two equally qualified candidates.
Officials insist the move is "positive action" rather than discrimination, and say they remain opposed to job quotas for women or ethnic minorities.
Under the measure, companies will also be pressured into publishing clearer details of pay levels in an attempt to curb discrimination in salaries. But businesses are deeply worried about the measure undermining workforce morale and breeding more bureaucracy.
The Bill, which will go through Parliament in the next session, will also outlaw ageism.
Ministers want to stop elderly people being patronised by doctors following complaints of pensioners being fobbed off by GPs and denied health, travel and car insurance.