15 % employment gap between BME communities, rest of population

Black Caribbean boys remain 3 times as likely to be permanently excluded from school
4th May 2010: The employment gap between BME communities and the rest of the population currently stands at approximately 15 per cent. It is only 1.3 per cent lower than in 1987.

It is estimated that the gap will take 25 -30 years to eradicate, if the government does not enact new solutions and remedies — says Operation Black Vote organization.

These are some other starting fact, released just before the general elections; and form a part of the “Black Manifesto” for the 2010 elections.

It says: “Our schools remain more ethnically segregated than our neighbourhoods. This is probably due to the increased economic and social access power of some parents rather than others. As long as this persists, our school system will be hindered in delivering on its duty to promote community cohesion and racial equality.

“Black Caribbean boys remain three times as likely (some areas six times more likely) to be permanently excluded from school and twice as likely to experience fixed-term exclusion”.

The manifesto goes on to add: Four million children in the UK live in poverty, costing £40 billion a year, or £2,500 for every family in the UK. This is broken down as follows: 25 per cent of White children, 56 per cent of African Children, 60 per cent of Pakistani children and a staggering 72per cent of Bangladeshi children

On criminal justice system, it says: BME communities are seven times more likely to be subjected to stop and search. Of the searches carried out in 2007-08, 13 per cent were of Black people, 3 per cent of people of mixed ethnicity, 8 per cent of Asian people and 1 per cent of people of Chinese or other ethnic origin. This is an increase of 8 per cent on 2006-07.

The Black Manifesto – The Price of Race Inequality’ – has urged the voters to ask five things to ask about race equality to prospective MPs.

The manifesto suggests the first query should be on financial reform to tackle poverty. `Will you introduce a package of financial reforms to include a UK Community Reinvestment Act; where 1per cent of bank profits and 10per cent of the dormant accounts fund is invested in poor and Black and Minority Ethnic communities? And set a legal limit on interest rates charge?’

On employment, the suggested question is: `What will you do to end the employment gap and discrimination between BME people and the rest of the workforce? Will you bring in affirmative action where there is under-representation?

Regarding improvement of democratic inclusion, the manifesto suggests: `Will you establish automatic voter registration for all citizens, compulsory voting and allow voters to vote for “None of the Above”?

The suggested query on education is: What will you do to ensure that parents have a real opportunity to choose the highest achieving schools for their children and ensure that all schools commit to having a balanced intake of low-income children in the best performing schools.

On stop and search, the recommended question is: Will you call for the abolition of Section 44 stops (Terrorism Act 2000) and establish clear targets for all other stops and searches until there is no racial inequality in the numbers being stopped?

Listing the manifesto objectives, it says: To set out the agenda for achieving race equality for the next government – with a particular focus on economic justice; To motivate, empower and inspire politically disengaged and unrepresented Black and Minority Ethnic communities to become active citizens and agents for positive change; To demonstrate the strategic importance and power of the UK BME electorate in the forthcoming elections; and to challenge the political parties and new Government to engage in a policy debate with BME communities, and commit to introducing new measures, which may include legislation, designed to reduce poverty, deprivation and inequality, and to increase BME social mobility.

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