Healing a Divided Britain, new EHRC report

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has today launched a new publication, Healing a Divided Britain - the need for a comprehensive race equality strategy.  Based on the EHRC's statutory five-year report on the progress of equality and human rights in England, the publication provides comprehensive analysis and evidence on whether our society is fair to all citizens. 

Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director, Business in the Community said: "I welcome the timely release of this report from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.  I fully support the recommendations in the report and the call for action including a comprehensive and coherent strategy and programme of action with measurable outcomes. I also support the call for increased clarity in government with ministerial responsibility for race but not with the absence of responsibility from ministers from Department for Work and Pensions, Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Department for Education, Department of Health and the Home Office who have key roles to play to ensuring policies for an inclusive Britain. 

“It is particularly concerning that young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people are amongst those most affected, as one in four young people in primary and secondary education the UK come from a BAME background. Yet only one in 16 leaders in high-level policy-making roles and business are BAME, meaning there is a gross shortage of role models to inspire the next generation.  A step change in action to build diversity into talent pipelines for recruitment and progression in the workplace is needed now, as employers who do not recruit from the widest talent pool and give BAME employees opportunities to progress will ultimately lose out. 

"It is vitally important that the BME 2020 targets set out by the previous Prime Minister remain in focus. The BME 2020 targets for access to education should not only include particular focus on access to Russell Group Universities for Black students but also retention and educational outcomes. 

" It is also important with the focus on A-level results out today these eventually translate into equal access to work and equal pay. And for those who will go on to university, we also need to ensure they have access to good jobs when they leave Higher Education. Yesterday’s ONS Labour Market statistics show that although overall BAME employment rates are rising faster year-on-year than White employment rates, there are still significant disparities between different ethnic groups which employers need to address. With BAME employees more likely to be in low-paid unstable jobs, the current focus on the gender pay gap should also be expanded to include action to close the pay gap for Britons from a BAME background.

"As there has been a spike in racial harassment incidents reported since the Brexit vote results it is a good time for employers to restate their commitment to workplaces free from racial and any other forms of harassment from colleagues, clients or customers. Employers up and down the country should have a clear and transparent process to report any incidents that occur and ensure that they take swift action to mediate and resolve any issues."