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Audit only partly exposes scale of UK’s racial discrimination

26th Oct 2017
Audit only partly exposes scale of UK’s racial discrimination

PM Theresa May’s pledge to publish Race disparity in the UK   exposes scale of race discrimination. Photographer: Kate Green/AA

 

It may have been long overdue but the publication this month of Race Disparity Audit pledged by Prime Minister, Theresa May, must be welcomed despite the shortcomings. The picture remains partial and comes without any strategy and proposals to resolve the deep discrimination divide in Britain. The figures, which show vastly different experiences for minority ethnic groups at school, in the workplaces, at hospitals and even in the justice system, reveal “uncomfortable truths”, she said. “People who have lived with discrimination don’t need a government audit to make them aware of the scale of the challenge. But this audit means that for society as a whole – for our government, for our public services – there is nowhere to hide. These issues are now out in the open. And the message is very simple: if these disparities cannot be explained then they must be changed.”

There was nothing particularly new in the audit. The information has been widely available for years albeit not collated. Report after report has exposed shockingly similar data about the extent of disadvantage in the country. Ethnic minorities have long suffered multiple layers of discrimination and prejudices, living as second- or even third-class citizens. The main value of this audit is that much is now presented in one portal and that the Government has accepted the facts of the injustices within British society.

What is missing is how laying bare the disparities will, “help end the injustices that many people experienced,” as May said when she originally launched the initiative a year ago. At that time, Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, even admitted that the data would “not provide the answers to why disparity existed.” The Government, he said, wanted to “work with outside groups to come up with ways it could tackle the injustice.”

The answer is not always legislations that have failed since the original Race Relations Act of 1965 that proved to be so weak that it was rapidly extended a few years later then strengthen a decade later. The lack of discernible and effective action is similar to repeated attempts to address the gross inequalities in the workplace and elsewhere that also include gender discrimination and other bigotry. The Prime Minister has insisted she wants to make the country “work for everyone, not just a privileged few.”

She could prove her sincerity leading by example and actually listen to what others are saying not just following the partisan advice of those around her.

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