‘Uncomfortable findings’ in report on BAME social mobility, PM says
Theresa May said the review will hold a mirror up to society.
Theresa May has pledged to confront the “uncomfortable truths” about the way black and minority ethnic people are treated in Britain after a review laid bare significant divisions.
White Britons are more likely to own their home and have a job than minorities but less likely to go to university if they attend state school, the probe found.
The “unprecedented” audit of the record of schools, hospital, employers, courts and other services will show nine in 10 headteachers are white British.
It will say the unemployment rate for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people is nearly double that of white British adults, 8% compared to 4.6%.
While two in three white adults own their home, only two in five of householders from any other ethnic group do.
White pupils from state schools had the lowest university entry rate in 2016.
The Prime Minister said the findings, to be released on a new website, Ethnicity Facts and Figures, will hold a mirror up to society.
Mrs May, who ordered the review soon after taking office, will hope to shift the political agenda away from her leadership woes by highlighting the action the government has taken to make good on her promises to build a “country that works for everyone”.
The PM announced plans to expand mentoring programmes to help people into work as well as help for businesses and institutions to close the employment gap.
She said: “In doing this groundbreaking work we are holding a mirror up to our society.
“The idea itself is not new, Charles Booth’s maps of rich and poor areas in Victorian London drew attention to hardship that was too often hidden, but this focus on how ethnicity affects people’s lives will present findings that are uncomfortable.
“My most fundamental political belief is that how far you go in life should be based on your talent and how hard you work and nothing else.
“Britain has come a long way in my lifetime in spreading equality and opportunity, but this audit will be definitive evidence of how far we must still go in order to truly build a country that works for everyone.”
Rebecca Hilsenrath, equality and Human Rights Commission chief executive, said: “No matter how uncomfortable the findings, we must not shy away from them.
“Race inequality is entrenched in our society and we need to stop deluding ourselves that it will somehow improve without sustained and co-ordinated effort on our part.
“We urgently need a comprehensive race strategy bringing in all parts of government to face these inequalities head on and ensure black and minority ethnic people are not left behind.
“The Prime Minister should be applauded in carrying out this work and we stand ready to work with her and use our expertise to address these problems.”