New figures show black community is being left behind in the economic recovery. George Osborne must act.

News release from Voice4Change EnglandVoice4Change England
March 2014

For immediate release

New figures show black community is being left behind in the economic recovery. George Osborne must act.

 

Voice4Change England (V4CE)[i] are demanding that Chancellor George Osborne launch an inquiry into alarming new Labour Force Survey figures[ii] showing that Black British citizens are losing out in the economic recovery.
 
The UK’s GDP grew every quarter in 2013[iii] and rates of White employment rose by over 360,000 (a 1.9 per cent increase).
 
But Black African and Caribbean people in work fell by 22,000 in the same period (a 3 per cent drop). The picture was even worse for African and Caribbean women, who experienced a 5.8 per cent fall.
 
The latest shocking data, quietly slipped out on Budget Day, proves that workplace race inequality is rampant and getting worse according to Kunle Olulode, V4CE director. 
 
He described the figures as “a scandal” and demanded that George Osborne launch an inquiry into the problem. 
 
Olulode said: “It is appalling that African and Caribbean workers are being left behind in the economic recovery. 
 
“It shows that Britain is becoming even more unequal. We call on George Osborne to take immediate action to address institutional racism in the labour market.
 
“Government ministers often boast about creating one million new jobs, but these are not being spread fairly across all communities.
 
“The vast majority of new jobs are in the private sector and businesses are less likely to hire black workers than public authorities.
 
“The Business Secretary Vince Cable has acknowledged this, but merely recognising the problem is not enough. We need urgent action to prevent society becoming more divided and segregated.
 
“Black workers already face a huge disadvantage getting hired in the first place[iv], and they experienced much higher rates of redundancy during the recession[v], so the fact that this is getting even worse now – when we are supposed to be enjoying an economic recovery – is shocking.”
 
A study for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2009[vi] found that 4 per cent of public sector employers were likely to have discriminated against BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) job applicants on grounds of race, compared with 35 per cent of private sector employers. It is highly likely that the picture is even worse for African and Caribbean applicants.
 
In 2010 the DWP carried out a large-scale exercise[vii] sending dummy CVs with similar qualifications and experience for the same jobs using different names. It found that ‘foreign-sounding’ names were far less likely to be called for an interview.
 
Yet, over three years later, name-blind applications have not been rolled out beyond Government departments, and there are no plans to extend this measure further. 
 
V4CE are calling on the Government to encourage the private sector to use name-blind applications.
 
V4CE welcomes the fact that employment rates have gone up for some ethnic groups, most notably the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities.
 
Ends
 
 
KUNLE OLULODE IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW
 
For more information or interviews please contact Communications Officer Samantha Watson on 020 7697 4245 or email swatson@voice4change-england.co.uk
 
Notes to editors: 
 
[i] Voice4Change England (V4CE) is a national advocate for the Black and Minority Ethnic voluntary and community sector (BME VCS).  Our website: www.voice4change-england.co.uk 
 
[ii]Office for National Statistics published the Labour Force Survey data on 19th March 2014. You can download the Excel spreadsheet here: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/.../table-a09.xls
 
[iii]BBC GDP tracker: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10613201
 
[iv]The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (2008) found there was a 14 per cent gap in employment rates between BME and White workers http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmpubacc/472/472.pdf and the Business Commission on Race Equality in the Workplace (commissioned by the DWP in 2007) found a 16 per cent gap http://citiesofmigration.ca/elibrary/the-business-commission-on-race-equality-in-the-workplace-a-report/#sthash.1UdsXjSz.dpuf
 
[v]Equality and Human Rights Commission report ‘The equality impacts of the current recession’ http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/research/47_the_equality_impacts_of_the_current_recession.pdf 
 
[vi]Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No 607. http://scotcen2.vizioz.net/media/20541/test-for-racial-discrimination.pdf 
 
 
[vi] In 2002 the then Prime Minister Tony Blair promised: “in ten years’ time ethnic minority groups should no longer face disproportionate barriers… in the labour market.” http://www.irr.org.uk/pdf/em_labour_market.pdf 
 
[vii] A National Audit Office report (2008) for the DWP warned that the lack of schemes aimed at ethnic minorities would fail to tackle the employment gap between communities https://www.nao.org.uk/report/increasing-employment-rates-for-ethnic-minorities