Racial injustice: Time for society to explain or change, says PM

Theresa May will challenge society to "explain or change" significant differences in the life outcomes of British ethnic minority and white people revealed in the Government's racial disparity audit.

The Prime Minister will tell government, business, police and other institutions they have "nowhere to hide" and must help ensure race is never a barrier to people achieving their goals in life.

The audit will lay bare on a new Ethnicity Facts and Figures website at 12.30pm on Tuesday how people of different races are treated in areas including health, education, employment and the criminal justice system.

The PM met pupils at Dunraven School in Streatham ahead of the report's publication
The PM met pupils at Dunraven School in Streatham ahead of the report's publication (Geoff Pugh/Daily Telegraph/PA)

Among the findings are:

:: The unemployment rate for black, Asian and minority ethnic people (8%) is nearly double that of white British adults (4.6%), with a larger gap in the North (13.6%) than the South (9%)

:: White people, Indians and Pakistanis are more likely to own their own home than Bangladeshis and black people, and there are disparities in home ownership even after taking account of age, geography, income and socio-economic group

:: White teenagers are four times more likely to be smokers than black teenagers

:: Chinese and Asian secondary school pupils perform better than white and black children, particularly those eligible for free school meals, although Pakistani pupils consistently fall behind, and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children do significantly worse

:: Among children aged between seven and 11 (Key Stage 2), 71% of Chinese children met the expected standard for reading, writing and maths, compared with 54% of white British pupils and 13% of white Gypsy and Roma pupils

:: Ethnic minorities are under-represented at senior levels across the public sector.

Theresa May discusses the statistics at Dunraven School
Theresa May discusses the statistics at Dunraven School (Geoff Pugh/Daily Telegraph/PA)

To launch the new website, thought to be the first official resource of its kind in the world, Mrs May will host a discussion around the Cabinet table involving "key stakeholders". She will tell them the audit will become an "essential resource in the battle to defeat ethnic injustice".

"People who have lived with discrimination don't need a government audit to make them aware of the scale of the challenge," the PM will say.

"But this audit means that for society as a whole - for government, for our public services - 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."

As part of the Government's response, the Department for Work and Pensions will target 20 "hotspots" where ethnic minority people are more likely to be unemployed.

Its work could include mentoring, traineeships for 16 to 24-year-olds, and offering English, maths and vocational training alongside work placements.

In the criminal justice system, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will put in place recommendations from the recent Lammy Review, including performance indicators for prisons to assess how prisoners of different races are treated.

In education, an external review will be brought forward to improve practice in excluding children from school.

On a visit to Dunraven School in Lambeth, south London, on Monday, Mrs May said: "What I hope this audit will bring is a change in attitude so that everyone is treated equally, no matter what their background, and this is never a barrier to getting on in life."

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