Leading think tank Policy Exchange has launched a new research unit specifically focused on understanding the social attitudes, aspirations and cultural differences of the UK’s Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) communities.
Rishi Sunak, the director of Catamaran Ventures will head the unit. He has a longstanding interest in education reform.
The unit’s inaugural project will research the political attitudes of BME communities. It will investigate how these attitudes are formed, how they are applied during elections, and how they are likely to shift over time, looking in detail at issues such as the life experience of BME voters and how they differ from the rest of the population, including within their own communities.
Mr. Sunak, head of the BME Research Unit at Policy Exchange, said: “Few attempts have been made to really understand Britain's ethnic minority communities. There is a tendency amongst many in the media and Westminster to assume that Britain's BME communities can be treated as a single political entity – as if all of Britain's ethnic minorities held similar views and had similar lives. Anyone with even a basic understanding of the issue knows that this is not the case. There are very significant differences between BME communities – both in terms of religious beliefs, and in terms of issues like educational attainment and life experience.”
He observed that in London alone 300 different languages are spoken.
“Clearly, those families that have come from China are going to be very different from those that come from Eastern Europe, or from West Africa,” Mr. Sunak said. “According to Department for Education figures, for example, Chinese pupils outperform all others at GCSE level, followed by Indian pupils, while Pakistani pupils do less well. Credibly, there can be no single "BME community".”