Government announces new race equality strategy

A wide-reaching consultation on improving opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic people has been announced by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears.

A report on the Government's race equality strategy, Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society shows that further progress depends on recognising that different ethnic groups are experiencing disadvantage in different ways. The Government is consulting on how best to move away from a "one size fits all" approach to targeted help addressing the different needs of particular groups.

The consultation will also take account of the additional challenge posed by the economic downturn. Past evidence shows that Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, as well as disadvantaged White people, are hit harder than others because of the type of job they have or because they live in deprived areas.

Speaking at the Stephen Lawrence Conference in London to mark the tenth anniversary of the Macpherson report, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said:

"It is clear there are some Black, Asian and minority ethnic community organisations doing great work to challenge and overcome disadvantage, for example organisations like the Runnymede Trust and Operation Black Vote. This is why today I'm pleased to confirm that we are making £12 million available to national and regional strategic partners working across a range of public services to tackle disadvantage or barriers to reduce gaps in outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people. This includes action to support women, young people and people with disabilities from those communities."

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears and Cohesion Minister Sadiq Khan and will be taking the debate across the country. To kick-start the debate a discussion document Tackling Race Equalities, is also being published. It invites views on what the Government's future approach to promoting race equality should be, asking as well as rights, what responsibilities are there for people from all communities in Britain to others and themselves.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears added:

"Equality is not just a minority concern. No-one should feel left out of the debate, because everyone has a role to play in making this country, fairer and stronger.

Welcoming the new consultation, Rob Berkeley, Director of the Runnymede Trust said:

"It is crucial that efforts to tackle racism, discrimination and inequality include strong leadership from Government. This consultation gives the opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved and to redouble our collective efforts to build a successful multi-ethnic Britain."

Copies of the report Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society are available on communities.gov.uk


Interesting facts

* People from Indian backgrounds are more successful in education and employment than the rest of the population.

* In 2005/06, the Pakistani population's rate of entry into higher education by age 19 was higher than that of the White population.

* Black Caribbean pupils have seen greater than average improvements in GCSE. Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 attainment.

* In 2007, Chinese pupils had the highest achievement levels at GCSE (including English and Mathematics).

* Black Caribbean men are still more than three times as likely to be unemployed as White men.

* Women of Pakistan heritage have the highest economic inactivity rates at 65 percent.

* Among women, Black Caribbean women had the second highest employment rate and the third lowest economic inactivity rate.

* Even if they're from better families, boys of Black African and Caribbean heritage, despite their positive attitude to school, do worse than White boys from a similar background.

* Pakistani and Bangladeshi children are still twice as likely to grow up in poverty as White children.

posted by

Asif Yusuf



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