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Damning government report on racial divide in Britain condemned as “token gesture”

Prime Minister Theresa May hosts a discussion around the Cabinet table on the findings of the Race Disparity Audit which highlighted imbalances in health, education, crime and employment. Photo by Bradley Page-WPA Pool/Getty Images.

By Simon Crowe

A GOVERNMENT report highlighting deep racial divisions in Britain has been criticised as a “token gesture”.

One of the first moves Theresa May made when she took the role as Prime Minister was to run an audit into the divisions in society in modern day Britain.

Results from that audit were released on Tuesday (October 10) on a government-run website which aims to shine a light on the inequality between ethnicities in areas such as education, jobs and crime and justice.

But Munira Mirza, the former deputy mayor of London, told Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday that the Government are framing this report in a particular way which cherry picks statistics.

She argued that the report ignored cultural traditions and used the example that some Bangladeshi women choose to stay at home and look after their children but in this audit fall into the category of job discrimination.

Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for communities and local government, disputed that claim. He told the programme there were many factors in play as there are hundreds of thousands of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women who hardly know any English – holding them back from the employment market and other opportunities.

Aamir Darr works an independent education consultant who aims to raise attainment amongst disadvantaged children and foster skills of learning together in Bradford.

He said that the problem was not a new one and believes there are already policies in place to address issues around inequality.

He predicteed following this report more policies would arise but condemned them as token gestures and said Theresa May “should stand up and say why these policies aren’t working”.

Labour Councillor Javaid Akhtar, chair of inner north west community committee on Leeds City Council, welcomed any new initiative which stops discrimination but said he believed the Conservative cutbacks on councils’ budgets were unhelpful.

He was keen to highlight the success story of Little London Community Primary School which is in his ward and has 58 nationalities amongst the pupils there and runs classes in the evenings for parents to learn English.

He believes the school is a model for success, with the community reaping the rewards after it recently received major investment.

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