Boris vows Government ‘fully committed to building fairer Britain’ after race report backlash


BORIS Johnson has vowed that all of Government is “fully committed to building a fairer Britain” and taking action to reduce racism and inequality – after backlash to his landmark race report.

It comes after a study out today concludes that the UK “no longer” has a system rigged against people from ethnic minorities.

The PM vowed to build a fairer Britain in response to the landmark report

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The PM vowed to build a fairer Britain in response to the landmark reportCredit: AFP

The PM thanked the leaders of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which was commissioned following last year’s Black Lives Matter protests which swept across Britain.

The PM said today the report had set out a “positive agenda for change”.

He added: “It is now right that the Government considers their recommendations in detail, and assesses the implications for future government policy.

“The entirety of government remains fully committed to building a fairer Britain and taking the action needed to address disparities wherever they exist.”

But critics blasted it as a “PR” exercise and an insult.

The report said today that the success of ethnic minority Brits should be seen as a “beacon” to the rest of the world.

And it claimed that geography, family structure and social class had a far bigger impact than race on how people’s lives turned out.

Elite professions like law and medicine are leading the way on equality and many ethnic minority kids do “substantially better” than white children in the classroom, it found.

The success of Britain’s education system has “transformed” British society and offered more opportunities to all, it said.

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It said the ethnic pay gap has shrunk to 2.3pc in 2019, and amongst under 30s was virtually non-existent.

Many ethnic minority kids do 'substantially better' than white kids at school (stock image)
Many ethnic minority kids do ‘substantially better’ than white kids at school (stock image)

But the government review concludes the cesspit of the internet is letting the nation down where “overt and outright racism persists in the UK”.

It warms some communities continue to be “haunted” by “historic cases” of racism, creating “deep mistrust” in the system which could prove a barrier to success.

Their 264 page review makes 24 recommendations to the government including scrapping controversial “unconscious bias training” and extending the school day for disadvantaged kids.

It took aim at big tech firms calling for tougher penalties on firms who do not take down racist content.

The report, which was released in full this morning, said some people involved in anti-racism movements were “reluctant to acknowledged past achievements” and that things had improved in recent years.

Dr Sewell wrote in the foreword to the study: “Put simply, we no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities.

“The impediments and disparities do exist, they are varied, and ironically very few of them are directly to do with racism.

“Too often ‘racism’ is the catch-all explanation, and can be simply implicitly accepted rather than explicitly examined.

“The evidence shows that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism.

“That said, we take the reality of racism seriously and we do not deny that it is a real force in the UK.”

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Dr Sewell said he didn't find evidence of institutional racism

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Dr Sewell said he didn’t find evidence of institutional racism

Speaking this morning, he said there was no proof he found of “institutional racism” but admitted that racism did still exist in Britain.

He said: “No-one denies and no-one is saying racism doesn’t exist.

“We found anecdotal evidence of this. However, evidence of actual institutional racism? No, that wasn’t there, we didn’t find that.”

But the report got a huge backlash from academics and some MPs today, who said it underplayed racism in society and was a “PR” move.

Prof Kehinde Andrews, a professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University, said the report was not a “genuine effort to understand racism in Britain”.

Prof Andrews said: “It’s complete nonsense. It goes in the face of all the actual existing evidence. This is not a genuine effort to understand racism in Britain. This is a PR move to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.”

Marsha de Cordova MP, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, said it featured “cherry-picked” statistics and was “divisive2.

She went on: “To downplay institutional racism in a pandemic where Black, Asian and ethnic minority people have died disproportionately and are now twice as likely to be unemployed is an insult.

“The government must urgently explain how they came to publish content which glorifies the slave trade and immediately disassociate themselves from these remarks.”

Labour’s David Lammy, who had previously led reviews into the justice system, labelled the conclusions an “insult to anybody and everybody across this country who experiences institutional racism”.

And the Lib Dems said the report must not be used to excuse the Government’s “shameful inaction” on racial injustice.

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