Life is getting worse for young black Britons, research shows

Equality watchdog slams 'piecemeal and stuttering' government response

 

The life chances of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds have gotten much worse over the last five years, according to the biggest ever review of race inequality in Britain.

The research, published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, shows that long-term unemployment among young BAME people has increased by 49 per cent since 2010, while for white people it has fallen slightly.

Overall unemployment for black people is 12.9 per cent, more than double the rate among people.

BME people are also less likely to occupy senior professional positions, and are more than twice as likely to be in insecure employment.

And although educational attainment is improving among ethnic minorities, those with degrees are two and a half times more likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts, and earn 23.1 per cent less on average.

BME people are far more likely to be victims of crime, and to be treated more harshly by the criminal justice system — with a rate of prosecution and sentencing three times higher than that of the white population.

Race also remains the most common motivator of hate crime, and the post-Brexit spike raises particular concern.

‘The combination of the post-Brexit rise in hate crime and deep race inequality in Britain is very worrying and must be tackled urgently,’ commented David Issac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

‘Today’s report underlines just how entrenched race inequality and unfairness still is in our society. We must redouble our efforts to tackle race inequality urgently or risk the divisions in our society growing and racial tensions increasing.’

Despite welcoming Theresa May’s comments on the importance of tackling inequality, Issac criticised the previous government’s ‘‘piecemeal and stuttering’ approach to race equality, accusing it of offering ‘more one nation platitudes than policies’.

The report includes a series of policy recommendations, including the creation of ‘a comprehensive, coordinated and long-term UK Government strategy with clear and measurable outcomes to achieve race equality.’

It also suggests that UK should carry out a full-scale review of hate crime sentencing in England and Wales and take steps to mitigate discriminatory effects of recent access to justice reforms.

It also calls for attention to inequality in police behaviour — a major concern for many BME communities — recommending that monitoring, training and scrutiny be enhanced to ensure that stop-and-search is being used in a lawful and non-discriminatory way.

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter.

See also: Why Black Lives Matter blocked access to Heathrow

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