Conservatives to `tear down racial barriers’

To launch `national mentoring scheme for black would-be entrepreneurs’

3rd May 2010: Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has pledged tough action to tear down the racial barriers existing in Britain today. Claiming prejudice was unacceptable; he said a Conservative government would not tolerate it.

He also announced that a Conservative government would launch a national mentoring scheme for black would-be entrepreneurs.

Addressing the Operation Black Vote rally at Methodist Central Hall in London, Osborne also promised Conservatives would partner with Operation Black Vote for arranging internships in every single Whitehall department for young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Osborne, in his speech, said: `Let me be absolutely clear: prejudice is unacceptable, and it will not be tolerated by a Conservative government.

`We want every child in Britain to have the best possible chance in life, irrespective of background or the colour of their skin.

`There’s a powerful leadership role that political parties can, and should, play.

`When David Cameron became leader of the Conservatives over four years ago, he put reversing the tragic under-representation of minorities in our party at the top of his to-do list.


`I call it tragic because it we were denying ourselves so much talent.

`But it was also tragic because it mean that many young black men and women looked at this party and thought: “they must have a problem with me”.

`That’s why we’ve worked so hard to encourage more people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to step forward and get themselves selected as candidates to be members of Parliament.

`And although there is still further to go, we’ve made real progress on that front’.

Referring to a study, he said: `Black entrepreneurs are four times more likely to be denied a loan outright than white entrepreneurs.

`I think that’s scandalous – and we’ve got to do something about it.

`That’s why a Conservative government will launch a national mentoring scheme for black would-be entrepreneurs.

`So we can send a clear message to Britain’s black community: if you want to start your own business, we’ll give you the support and advice you need to access finance and work for yourself’.

He added: `In opposition, the Conservative Party has been organising internships with the Social Mobility Foundation, so that bright people from poor backgrounds have been able to do work experience with our Shadow Cabinet.

In government, I want to us to continue this good work.

`So I can today tell you that a Conservative government will partner with Operation Black Vote to arrange internships in every single Whitehall department for young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

`This will open doors and tear down barriers at the highest level of government.

`It will create new opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds and different walks of life.

`And it will help make our government better, and our society fairer.

`We should all be proud of the progress we’ve as a society made when it comes to tackling prejudice and overcoming racial barriers.

`But we should equally be resolved to do more, and go further, in future.

`It will not always be easy.

`But I can make you this pledge: a Conservative government will bring new energy to the task of making Britain a fairer and more equal country’.



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