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Race Inequality

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 25th February 2016.

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Photo of Steven Paterson Steven Paterson Scottish National Party, Stirling 9:30 am, 25th February 2016

What steps the Government are taking to tackle race inequality.

Photo of Roger Mullin Roger Mullin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury)

What steps the Government are taking to tackle race inequality.

Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

The Prime Minister has set out challenging Government targets to increase black, Asian and minority ethnic opportunities by 2020, including take-up of apprenticeships, employment and recruitment to the police and armed services.

Photo of Steven Paterson Steven Paterson Scottish National Party, Stirling

The Scottish Government have launched a programme entitled, “New Scots: Integrating Refugees in Scottish Communities”, in order to ensure that refugees have every opportunity and support to rebuild their lives in Scotland. What similar initiatives are the UK Government taking to support refugees and fight racism?

Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

The Under-Secretary of State for Refugees, my hon. Friend Richard Harrington, who works across the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Home Office, is working extremely hard to support refugees in a way similar to the programme that the hon. Gentleman mentions.

Photo of Roger Mullin Roger Mullin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury)

Research suggests that people with ethnic-sounding names have to make twice as many job applications as do white Britons to get job interviews. Will the Minister therefore discuss with the Business Secretary and others how to strengthen guidance to companies on their recruitment practices?

Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

I agree with the hon. Gentleman, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made a significant commitment in that area. Many of the country’s top employers, including the civil service, are committing to name blind recruitment processes, and UCAS will be making university applications name blind from 2017.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

I join my hon. Friend in congratulating the Government on introducing name blind recruitment in the civil service, the NHS, and other large graduate employers. Will he join me in encouraging other large companies across the UK to follow suit?

Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We should certainly encourage companies across the country—not just FTSE 100 companies, which seem to be making significant efforts, but companies large and small—to look at diversity and how they can use it to improve their business.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Health)

People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds make up 26% of apprenticeship applications but only 9.6% of the apprenticeships that are taken up. What is the Minister doing to improve those disappointing statistics?

Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

Apprenticeships are an extremely important part of the Government’s agenda. We have a target of 3 million apprenticeship starts during this Parliament. Within that, the Prime Minister has clearly set out the Government’s commitment to ensure that 20% of those apprenticeship starts are for BME young people, which I think is a great step forward.