United Kingdom leader Theresa May challenge: 'explain or change' race disparity

Lester Mason
October 10, 2017

Among the findings of the audit, the data showed Asian, black and other minority ethnic households were most likely to be in persistent poverty, that ethnic minorities have a lower employment rate than white people, and that they were under-represented in senior public sector jobs.

The divides reportedly only increase at secondary school, where white 15-year-olds are four times more likely to smoke than their non-white peers, the survey found.

May is trying to regain momentum on social policy with the audit, which she called an "essential resource in the battle to defeat ethnic injustice".

During a Downing Street meeting today, Theresa May said: "People who have lived with discrimination don't need a government audit to make them aware of the scale of the challenge".

She said: I was very clear, nobody should be stopped and searched on the streets of this country because of the colour of their skin but we saw that police were conducting about a quarter of their searches illegally so now we have the best stop and search scheme in place and each police force is signing up to it'.

While 85% of white people reported a sense of belonging, 84% of Asian respondents and 81% of black people also agreed to strong feelings of Britishness.

A United Kingdom government spokesman said: "The Race Disparity Audit gives unprecedented insight into how people from different ethnic backgrounds are treated in society, including their access to healthcare, education, employment and in the criminal justice system".

Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News the report showed "there is still more work that needs to be done" as he described the investigation's first phase as a "data collection exercise".

"This audit means that for society as a whole - for government, for our public services - there is nowhere to hide".

Britain has a "way to go" to create an equal society but tackling ethnic injustice is a "personal priority", the Prime Minister said as she hosted a diversity event in No 10.

White people, Pakistanis and Indians are more likely to own their own home than Bangladeshis and black people.

David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the data must be used "to set the foundations for real change" and address the "entrenched inequality" revealed by the audit. "These issues are now out in the open", she told a private meeting to launch the report, according to her office.

On Tuesday, Mrs May will say the government and institutions must "explain or change" the differences.

"Britain has come a long way in my lifetime in spreading equality and opportunity".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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