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Tuesday 20 September 2016

2025: A Vision for Race Equality in Britain, a BARAC UK Strategy Paper

2025: A Vision for Race Equality in Britain

Authors: Mr Lee Jasper and Ms Zita Holbourne
National Co-Chairs Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK

A strategy paper, setting out a strategic framework focused on the goal of substantive reduction of racial disproportionality and inequality in the United Kingdom.


BARAC UK [1] was established as a social movement and campaigning organisation in 2010 after the General Election of that year, in direct response to the anticipated politics of austerity and the likely disproportionate impact of cuts on black workers, service users, and deprived communities. We believed that the planned austerity cuts would inflame and exacerbate racism, poverty and social-economic injustice faced by black and migrant communities.
We use the term black in its inclusive and widest political sense, including all non-white ethnic minority communities living in the United Kingdom.
Our core belief is, as research has shown, racial disparities on socio-Reconomic indices expand dramatically during economic recession.[2]
We believe that the combination of the 2008 global economic crisis, the pursuit of ideological austerity and the decision to leave the European Union have combined into a perfect storm hugely amplifying and aggravating racism in Britain.
We believe that these factors have made the vision of a fair and just Britain, a nation that is a free and equal society for all its citizens, increasingly remote as rates of racial socio-economic inequality, religious and racist attacks, alongside xenophobic hate crimes, continue to rise.
We note with both alarm and extreme concern the publication of the Equality and Human Right Commission’s recent tri-annual report “Healing a divided Britain: the need for a comprehensive race equality strategy’. The report called for the introduction of an urgent and immediate Race Equality Scheme, noting the widespread and growing rate of racial inequality across the United Kingdom.
The Chair of the Commission, [3]Mr David Isaac warned in his foreword to the report that, “widespread racial inequality risks further increasing racial tensions".
We agree and support the Commission’s call for Government to adopt a "comprehensive race equality strategy".
Further we believe, as stated in a recent published report, assessing the state of racism in the UK, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) [4] stated that protracted economic decline in Britain has led to the targeting of popular scapegoats, ramping up racism for short-term political gain, led by sections of the UK’s right-wing media alongside some irresponsible British politicians.
This traditional political scapegoating is being used as a means of popular distraction; diverting attention from the real authors, and those primarily responsible for our current economic decline, the banks, financial service institutions and parliament itself.
We believe that in the current economic and political context, we will continue to see the growth of racism and religious hatred in many towns and cities across the UK, an increase as highlighted in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s most recent report.
Britain’s ethnic communities continue to grow in size and the palpable and continued failure of Government to tackle racism and religious hatred, we believe. invites the development of European style democratically elected fascism, in an increasingly racially hostile, post Brexit Britain as exemplified by the success of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in pandering to racist sentiment and of and the election in growing numbers of a range of extreme right-wing parties [5] across the European Union.

Things are getting worse

A report “A Portrait of Modern Britain” [6] released by the UK think tank, Policy Exchange, a centre-right research institute based in London, identified significant population growth of some ethnic communities. The authors of the study looked at the UK’s five largest distinct ethnic groups including Pakistani, Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Indian, their findings found that some of these groups accounted for as much as 80 percent of the UK’s population growth with Black Africans being the fastest growing group and White and Black Caribbean groups the slowest.

We believe that we must urgently address the growth of systemic racism, race and religious hatred and inequality, if we are to avoid a dystopian future, leading major cities in United Kingdom, to follow the trajectory of many deeply troubled, major US cities over the last 30 years, resulting in huge racial tensions, endemic poverty, increased crime rates, huge damage to property and potentially loss of life.
This strategy paper seeks to focus political discussions within mainstream political parties, trade unions, civil society and non-governmental organisations on the goal of achieving substantive reductions in race inequalities and social injustice faced by black and ethnic minority communities in the United Kingdom.
We believe the Government’s Race Equality Strategy (RES) approach should be bespoke, targeting local regional areas in particular employment sectors, like the media, with specific and sector specific goals and targets designed to tackle the problem where it is greatest.
Across the UK and its multicultural cities, there are huge regional, ethnic variations in the particular experience of discrimination, the extent of racial inequality experienced between ethnic groups themselves and different regions, towns and cities.  The extent of racial inequalities experienced by individual ethnic communities around the country, varies for each individual ethnic group and with strong regional variations, any effective RES strategy will require local targets and differing regional approaches.
Any attempt to seriously reduce substantive racial inequality across the UK will need to target discrimination amongst the largest employers. In order to achieve the kind of society that can be a beacon for multiracial nations around the world, we must first tackle job discrimination in the UK labour market and that means specifically targeted employment legislation capable of achieving a representative workforce.
It is also important that the demand for race equality by 2025 should be from civil society campaigns in which individual institutions and organisations not only sign up in support but also adopt their own race equality strategies in line with the demands on government. It is extremely important that organisations, institutions, businesses and faith groups all lead the demand for greater effectiveness from government in tackling race equality by way of example. This is an extraordinarily important aspect of this campaign.

Prolonged and sustained racial inequalities are symptoms of profound economic and social exclusion. Racism, discrimination, prejudice and bigotry all deny human potentiality and negatively affect the lives of millions of Black, Asian and other non-white minorities living in the UK. 

The strategy.
The achievement of this important strategy relies on the success of two important objectives;

1. The need to secure broad support and adoption of this 2025 strategy, across large sections of British society, including political parties, trade unions, faith communities, business and civil society groups and all race equality and ant -racist campaigning organisations.
2. The agreement of government on the development of a realistic RES strategy and broad policy framework, developed in consultation with black and ethnic minority communities and designed to help Britain secure the achievement of genuine racial equality and improved social justice within a decade. A radical plan that sets out bespoke targets within various sectors of British society that focuses on the reduction of all major areas of substantive racial inequality by 2025.

We hope that the obvious requirements demonstrated in this paper of the urgent need to develop a broad policy consensus and agreement across British civil society around the goal of substantively reducing racial equality in Britain by 2025, will deliver majority and significant support around a clear set of detailed campaign objectives and thereby increase our chances of convincing government to engage in the consultation, development and ultimately agreement of this important strategy.

What we believe

We believe it is now absolutely critical for the future economic, cultural and political success of post Brexit Britain, that where racial and religious hatred and the wholly negative effects of institutionalised racism, continue to blight the lives of many black and ethnic minority citizens, that such discrimination is tackled head on.
What is now required, we believe, is a profound paradigm shift of focus and approach in achieving a more equal society. It is absolutely beyond doubt that the goal of a fair, just and equal society is receding into the distance becoming a distant and increasingly unachievable goal.
In this post Brexit Britain context, tackling racism becomes a matter of national interest. It is now vital that structural racism, demonstrated and evidenced by a plethora of in-depth academic research, illuminating profound social, race and ethnic inequality, is substantively reduced over the next decade.
Failure to do so, will we believe, lead to growing and increased ethnic, religious and racial tensions in a multiracial Britain, where continued acute economic disadvantage and discrimination will lead to deep social unrest, and increased tensions among Britain's ethnic communities and ultimately civil disorder. Educated black and ethnic minority young people are becoming increasingly impatient for access to social mobility and career development opportunities.
We believe that a decade-long plan provides a realistic framework and timescale for real and sustainable progress to be made.
We believe this requires the adoption of a clear and comprehensive, ten-year RES, that outlines a series of proposals, targets and milestones, designed to achieve substantive race equality within a finite period. Black British and ethnic minority citizens must secure substantive commitments to race equality in their lifetimes.
The consequences in not doing so will condemn future generations of black and ethnic minority British citizens and the country as a whole, to a grim, angry and uncertain future where racism, racial and religious tensions, social discord and civil unrest all continue to rise.
This strategy paper presents a brief political and academic analysis of where we are today in terms of racial and ethnic discrimination and inequality, outlines key findings of academic statutory or community based research, and suggests the development of a coherent and consensual approach to making a once in a generation determined attempt to substantially reduce and/or eliminate racial inequality.

What the research tells us

Racism in 2016, is significantly worse today, than the crude racism faced by migrant communities in the mid-50/60s. Whilst this generation ended the horror of extreme racial violence and colour bar racism, the sad fact is that their grandchildren today suffer lower levels of social mobility than their parents, higher levels of unemployment and homelessness and yet are more educationally qualified than their parents.
These facts are confirmed in an important and significant report published in August 2016 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The Commission has analysed the state of race discrimination, inequality and disadvantage in the UK.
Their report cites the huge rise in hate crimes, racist abuse and violent attacks against migrants, Muslims and black people in the aftermath of the EU referendum. The report also found significant growth in rates of racial inequality and a widening of the life chances differentials between white, black and ethnic minority citizens.

These results as very worrying and fundamentally threaten Britain's social cohesion, economic prosperity, social solidarity in very many multicultural cities and towns across the country.

This substantive research review, undertaken by the Commission, focused on the areas of education, employment, housing and living standards, health, criminal justice and civic participation.

The report follows a similar report published by the Commission in 2010 entitled How Fair is Britain? This report, also came to similarly worrying conclusions as the Commission’s more recent review. We have seen no effective policy or campaigning response to either of these reports, from Government, trade unions, and campaigning groups or indeed from wider civil society. The impression given is whilst racism remains a "concern", it does not constitute a real political priority for many.

Since the publication of the Commission’s initial report in 2010 yet another generation has grown up under the cloud of continued racial and ethnic disadvantage.

The findings of both these important reports are an indictment of the grand political failure of successive governments of all parties, civil service administrations and wider civil society, in making real progress in ensuring that the dream of Britain becoming country that affords equality to all its citizens, becomes a reality within the lifetime of this current generation.
Today Britain is commonly described as a meritocracy, however we will argue that is no longer true and that Britain offers it’s growing black and ethnic minority communities third class citizenship in what is regarded the first-class democracy. Britain is an increasingly racial and religious discriminatory society where the current generation of black and ethnic minority citizens face more racism in terms of socio-economic exclusion and lack of social mobility than that faced by their parents, a damning indictment for any society.              
We are not moving towards the goal of full race equality, the goal is moving away from us, condemning millions of black and ethnic minority citizens to continue to live under the long shadow of racism.
This report is not alone in identifying such gross racial inequality.

The Runnymede Trust an independent race equality think tank published its second annual report entitled "Ethnic Inequalities In London: A Capital For All[7] which captured the growth of  racial inequality right across the capital.

Its findings were equally conclusive that "ethnic inequalities are persistent and widespread, particularly in employment and housing." Its findings identified the south London borough of Lambeth as the most racially unequal and divided borough in London. This annual snapshot of London also confirms that the gap between black and white Londoners in terms of life chances, quality of life and opportunities is widening.

Runnymede’s report also found, as did the Commission’s review, that black and ethnic minority pupils were out performing their white counterparts, and yet suffered huge discrimination within the UK labour market. This successful trend within black and ethnic communities of a growing and confident, educated, young, black aspiring workforce, faced with systemic racism within the labour market and the routine denial of opportunity, presents the UK; both with a unique opportunity and a real and present threat.

Black and ethnic minority young people; qualified, ambitious and ready to work are finding themselves unemployed, on the streets, unable to get a decent home to live in, unable to get a job commensurate with their skills and education, and living in a society where they will find themselves repeatedly racially profiled and harassed through discriminatory application of police Stop and Search powers.

The combination of widespread racial inequality, racism and discrimination means our communities are both contained and under pressure, with no obvious social mobility routes out of this incredibly hostile environment and no real access to secure race equality and justice.

Where do we go from here?

This paper sets out BARAC’s key concerns and seeks to build public debate and political consensus on the urgent need for the development and adoption of a comprehensive Government and civil society RES action plan that identifies the goal of substantially reducing all areas of racial inequality and disproportionality by the year 2025. A plan that should be developed through, timely and ethical consultations with black and ethnic minority communities, with a goal of developing a 10-year RES definitive plan with annual targets and public reporting mechanisms.
We hope this paper’s recommendations will be considered by all political parties, civil society organisations and community groups with a view to formally supporting a statement, such as the draft produced below, by way of example;
We wish to live in a Britain that provides equality of opportunity and freedom from race, religious and ethnic discrimination. Our ambition is for Britain to become a modern multicultural democracy where all our citizens can live, thrive and prosper, without the fear of racial or religious discrimination and bigotry.
We call upon the UK Government to ensure ethical and formal consultation and partnership with black and ethnic minority communities, organisations faith groups and wider civil society in the development of a radical and fully comprehensive Race Equality Strategy (RES) focused on the substantive reduction and where possible, elimination of all substantive areas of racial inequality and discrimination in the United Kingdom by the year 2025.
We individually commit to leading by example by initiating the development of our own public, comprehensive, national 10-year Race Equality Strategy (RES) developed in partnership with black and minority communities. This will include targets in employment and service delivery that work towards reducing current levels of racial and ethnic underrepresentation and inequality and commit to publishing an annual report, outlining our progress each year until the year 2025.

This BARAC UK strategy paper sets out some of the key statistics demonstrating racial disadvantage, disparity and disproportionality that affect black and ethnic minority communities within the UK. Effects of racism are nuanced so not all communities experience the same effects in terms of racism and racial inequality. Each distinct black and ethnic minority community is defined by its particular historical, political and cultural experience that ensures a range of differential outcomes for many distinct British ethnic communities.
Notwithstanding this important distinction, it is nevertheless true to say that the major negative effects of growing race and ethnic inequality and its impact, is demonstrably greatest upon Britain's African, African Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, and of late we have seen the terrible xenophobia directed towards Eastern European and in particular Polish communities.
Any race equality strategy would need to take account of these real differentials in the lived experience of distinct ethnic communities. That requires very specific targeting of individual groups and communities that suffer the greatest disadvantage. This approach recognises the reality of racial disadvantage as it impacts upon distinct ethnic groups and provides a credible and coherent response to those in the greatest need. This moves away from a broad "black and ethnic minority" categorisation and adopts entirely specific ethnic targets focusing on specific disadvantage and disproportionality, where such disadvantage clearly exists.

Current initiatives

The Prime Minister recently announced her intention to conduct a Race Equality Audit across all Government Departments and public services in an effort to reveal "difficult truths" about the extent of racism across and within the public sector. This audit will highlight differences in outcomes for people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds in areas of health, education, childcare, welfare, employment, skills and criminal justice.
Whilst this is to be welcomed, it is vitally important that the detailed remit of such an audit, the evaluation of the resources required and the timescale for its delivery and completion are all agreed in partnership with a broad range of credible black and ethnic minority organisations and communities. A simple 1980s style race equality snapshot across government cannot be, in and of itself, viewed as real and substantial progress. This has to be much more than just a bean counting exercise.
Despite these concerns, this initiative is to be welcomed. The real test will be the extent of public consultation and engagement with black and minority communities. This audit must enjoy the confidence of our communities and that will require genuine government and civil society partnership in the development of the specific terms of reference that will inform the work of this audit.
However, there remains a fundamental weakness in what is currently being proposed by government. The reality is that discrimination in wider society goes well beyond the realm of public services. If the UK private sector is to be excluded, then a critical area where racism's social economic effects are endemic will be ignored.
Failure to include discrimination in relation to goods and services will result in a keyhole examination of racism in Britain rather than a comprehensive full-scale enquiry. We must work together to make sure that the remit for the planned audit is substantive and capable of tackling these issues in a sustainable and effective way.

The ‘fire next time’

What we believe is required, is a Judge led public enquiry on a similar scale to the 1967 United States, National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders also known as the Kerner Commission  and was established to investigate the causes of civil disorder that took place in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King.
We believe that as a consequence of austerity, heightened levels of race and ethnic discrimination, disadvantage and inequality, civil disorder is not just likely, it is inevitable. We believe there is a failure in government to recognise the driving factors that led up to the civil disturbances of 2011[8] and that many of the issues that gave rise to those events have not just remained unaddressed but have become substantially worse over the last five years.
By establishing a much broader inquiry now, the country can save itself millions of pounds in avoiding the huge costs that would be associated with yet another outbreak of national civil disorder and riot damage. We believe that for all British citizens to flourish and for our economy to prosper we must be better able to compete in an increasingly globalised world.

Britain as a multicultural democracy must utilise all the talents available to the nation in an effort to enhance social cohesion and promote economic prosperity.  

There is simply no need to wait for the ‘fire next time’ politicians, trade unions, civil society groups and campaigning organisations need to all coalesce around and campaign for the establishment of a judge led public enquiry and the production of a comprehensive race equality 10-year strategy.

2025 Racial Equality Campaign

BARAC UK 2025 Race Equality Campaign Draft Objectives

BARAC will work with others to develop a project/campaign framework that has the potential of attracting wide spread support whilst providing the necessary public pressure needed to reverse the current trend of widening inequality and race discrimination.

Power concedes nothing without demand. 

The importance of establishing the issue of race as a political and policy priority within both central and local Government and wider civil society, requires a mass movement and a broad based campaign, capable of keeping the issue high on the media and political agendas.

Key to achieving this important objective is creating the broadest possible alliance of black and ethnic minority organisations, trade unions, community and civil society groups and faith communities.

The key aim of the campaign is to;

Challenge Government, business and wider civil society to substantially reduce persistent racial inequality and disproportionality in both employment and service delivery in addition to improving levels of ethnic representation in public life by 2025.

The 2025 Race Equality Campaign will seek to encourage British society to adopt the objective and goal of ending significant racial inequalities within 10 years.

This will involve, clearly identifying current rates of race inequality, disproportionality and ethnic under representation through a base line Race Equality Audit (2017) and setting challenging annual public targets for substantial reductions to be achieved by 2025. 

The Campaign is designed to encourage a broad range of institutions, businesses and organisations to support the statement and sign up for the
2025 Race Equality Challenge committing to working, within their specialist sectors, toward the elimination and or reduction of major areas of racial inequality, disproportionality and ethnic under-representation by 2025. 

We have five initial developmental objectives for further discussion;

a)    To publicly campaign for Government, businesses, institutions, civil society organisations, faith groups and individuals to accept and sign up to the 2025 Race Equality Campaign.

b)    To work with others in seeking to significantly challenge, reduce and where possible eradicate all major areas of racial inequality, disproportionality and ethnic under-representation in Britain by 2025.

c)    To promote, campaign and advocate for better public understanding of the reality and scale of racial inequalities, disproportionate treatment and ethnic under-representation and its effects on British society and economy.

d)    To highlight the financial cost to Britain’s economy and prosperity of continued racial discrimination and economic exclusion and injustice.

e)    To bring public pressure to bear on governments, businesses and institutions to sign up to the campaign, reserving the right to initiate social action where there is resistance to race equality.

Signing up to the campaign.

Political parties, business and civil society organisations from all sections of society, who agree with our stated aims and objectives to join with us in helping Britain to become a vibrant, multiracial democracy by 2025 are invited to sign up. 

Sign up to 2025 Race Equality Challenge and commit to publish a five-year Race Equality Strategy that sets out yearly targets for the reduction or elimination of all areas of racial inequality, disproportionality in employment and service delivery and targeted improvement of ethnic representation. 

Commitment to the publication of annual Race Equality Audit reports identifying progress against annually agreed targets aimed at reducing rates of race inequality, disproportionality and ethnic under representation.

Help promote the campaign nationwide.

Support the public launch of the campaign group which will take place on Saturday 15th of January 2017 on the occasion of the birthday of Dr Martin Luther King.

Campaign Structure

The 2025 Race Equality Campaign Group will be the national co-ordinating group providing input and guidance to the campaign.  We expect this group to meet no more than 4 times a year. 

This group will be made up of specialist organisations committed to tackling race inequality that will then be utilised for their sector specific expertise.

BARAC UK will convene a national campaign-planning group, that will help focus early negotiations with government about the remit and resources needed to undertake a comprehensive race equality audit across the UK.

If you are interested in becoming one of the initial, founding signatories and supporters of this important campaign, contact:

BARAC UK   Email:  



[2] Economic scarcity alters the perception of race. Amy R. Krosch and David M. Amodio
[3] Equality and Human Rights Commission
[4] United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racism.
[6]  A Portrait of Modern Britain. Rishi Sunak and Saratha Rajeswaran. Policy Exchange
[8] Reading The Riots London School of Economics.

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