Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Government Audit Reveals Racial Disparities Throughout British Society

By James Whittaker 

Theresa May commissioned the audit in August 2016 (Picture: Yorkshire Post). 

An audit released today highlights the racial disparities that exist throughout the UK's public institutions. Black and ethnic minorities face disadvantages in housing, schooling, policing, the courts and the workplace.

The extent of these disadvantages vary regionally, suggesting there is a postcode lottery in British public services. Theresa May said that the audit had unveiled "uncomfortable truths".

She continued: "... 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." 

In education, Roma and Gypsy students fall far short of their expected standard. Black Caribbean pupils' attainment rate remains, according to the audit "very low overall". Moreover, schools expel three times more black Caribbean students than white students.

In policing, black people were found to be six times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people. Stop and search rates were three times higher among ethnic minorities in general.

The audit also found black and asian men more likely to be found guilty in a crown court than white men.

Pakistanis and Bangladeshis earn the least and disproportionately live in the most deprived areas. Black people are also more likely to have a lower income and live in a more deprived area than their white counterparts.

For government officials, one of the more surprising findings of the report was region as a contributing factor to racial disparity. In the North, racial disparities in employment between black and white people are 4% worse than in the South.

In schools, black children were much more likely to attain their expected grade in Kensington and Chelsea or Greenwich than in Stockport or Calderdale. The audit therefore highlighted the extent to which schooling in the UK is a postcode lottery.

The audit has coincided with another report which suggests that women from ethnic minorities have been hit the hardest by austerity cuts. 

Labour MP David Lammy, who headed a recent review into racial disparities in the justice system, responded to the findings: 

“We simply can’t let this racial disparity audit bring forth more talking shops. We’ve had a lot of talk, it’s now time for action.”

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