Seeking to relaunch social agenda, UK's May to address racial disparity

Pauline Gross
October 11, 2017

Following the report, ministers will tackle 20 "hotspots" where ethnic minority people are more likely to be unemployed, which could include mentoring, traineeships and offering English, maths and vocational training alongside work placements.

Ministers have laid bare the shocking gaps in wealth, health and crime rates between different races by setting up a website with statistics on every aspect of society.

The new Ethnicity Facts and Figures website, launched at 12.30pm today, highlights the ways in which children's ethnicity determines their success in a range of areas, including education.

May was visiting Dunraven Sixth Form ahead of the release of the results of a national probe into racial inequality which revealed a growing disparity between white Britons and British minority ethnics.

But there are some areas where whites suffer worse than minorities - with white children more likely to claim free school meals and white patients worse hit by mental health problems.

Less than two-thirds of people from ethnic minorities are in work, compared with three-quarters of white people.

■ Households of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, black, mixed and other backgrounds were more likely to receive income-related benefits and tax credits than those in other ethnic groups.

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Departments would have to "explain or change" areas of their work where different racial groups received differing levels of service.

Meanwhile, pupils from Chinese and Asian backgrounds are significantly more likely to perform well at primary and secondary school.

There were surprising differences between ethnicities when it came to taking up smoking: white 15-year-olds are much more likely to smoke than their BME counterparts, with black teenagers least likely to smoke at this age.

Some BAME groups are more likely to live in overcrowded housing, to grow up in persistent poverty, to be stopped and searched by police than white British people and less likely to earn as much per hour, or to own their homes. White British adults were more likely to have suicidal thoughts, however.

"People who have lived with discrimination don't need a government audit to make them aware of the scale of the challenge", May said, who had warned the research was created to reveal "uncomfortable truths". "But this audit means that for society as a whole for government, for our public services there is nowhere to hide", said May in a statement in response to the report. These issues are now out in the open.

May will describe it as an "essential resource in the battle to defeat ethnic injustice". And the message is very simple: "if these disparities can not be explained then they must be changed", she said.

'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'.

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