May warns ‘nowhere to hide’ over race inequality

10 Oct

Speaking to a roundtable meeting of campaigners at 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister said tackling ethnic injustice is her “personal priority”.

Organisations will be forced to “explain or change” over the report’s findings, Mrs May added, admitting the “findings will be uncomfortable” for public services.

A new Government website, titled Ethnicity Facts and Figures, which went live on Tuesday, unveiled data covering 130 topics from 12 Whitehall departments.

The findings included:

:: Black people are more than six times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than White people

:: Ethnic minority householders are less likely to be in owner-occupied properties than White British households – except for Indian, mixed White and Asian and Pakistani households who have similar rates of home ownership

:: Black Caribbean pupils are permanently excluded from schools at three times the rate of White British pupils

:: Asian households are underrepresented in new social housing lettings – particularly Indian and Pakistani households


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Video:
Race report ‘unprecedented in transparency’

Attending the PM’s diversity event at Number 10 were a number of campaigners, including Jabeer Butt from the Race Equality Foundation, Omar Khan from the Runnymede Trust, Kunle Olulode from Voice4Change and Matilda MacAttram from Black Mental Health.

The Prime Minister told the meeting: “What this audit shows is there isn’t anywhere to hide.

“That’s not just for Government, it’s for society as a whole.

“Britain has come along way in promoting equality and opportunity but what the data we’ve published today shows is that we still have a way to go if we are going to truly have a country that works for everyone.”


CE grab of government website after race audit released.

Video:
Public website for race data goes live

Prior to the discussion, Mrs May had examined the audit’s findings with her Cabinet.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said Mrs May had described how, on a school visit on Monday in south London, she had met a black student who had wanted to be a lawyer.

However, having seen the lack of diversity in the judiciary, the student told the Prime Minister he wondered if it was a profession in which he could progress.

“She was clearly touched by the boy’s story,” the spokesman said.

In a statement to the House of Commons on the audit’s findings, First Secretary of State Damian Green told MPs the audit is “unprecedented in scale, scope and transparency”.

He warned “there is much more still to do if we are to end racial injustice” but denied the report is “unrelentingly negative” about the situation for ethnic minorities in Britain – pointing to similar levels of home ownership to white people among some ethnic groups.

Dawn Butler, Labour’s shadow secretary for women and equalities, welcomed the collation of Government data but stressed “what matters most is what the Government is going to do about the problems identified”.


Campaigners say the report makes uncomfortable reading

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Debate: Is the race report welcome?

Munira Mirza, one of Boris Johnson’s former deputy mayors in London, warned the Government’s racial disparity audit risks stoking grievances amongst ethnic minority communities.

She expressed concern over how ministers have “framed this in terms of racial injustice and explained the disparities between groups in terms of unfair treatment by the system”.

Mr Johnson’s ex-education adviser told Sky News: “It’s inaccurate because there are many complex reasons why there are disparities between groups, and it’s not always about the colour of their skin.

“Very often it’s not, and it’s certainly not always about discrimination. Apart from being misleading and inaccurate, I think it can stoke grievance.”

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