Covid-19: Inequality in Unemployment Rates

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 22nd September 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Chair, Public Accounts Committee, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on understanding the reasons for the increase in the inequality in the unemployment rate between young black people and young white people during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Understanding why labour market disparities exist between ethnic groups is complex, and work is ongoing across Government to understand better why these disparities exist. In particular, we have a national programme of mentoring circles involving employers who are offering specialised support to unemployed young ethnic minority jobseekers.

Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Chair, Public Accounts Committee, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

I am sure the Minister was as shocked as the rest of us to discover that the increase in young black unemployment was exponentially higher than the increase in young white unemployment at the end of the last quarter of last year, and it has not got better. What specific programmes will he undertake to make sure that we do not see the additional scarring of a generation of young black people aged 16 to 24?

Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Government are already acting on this precise point, and in the hon. Lady’s Hackney constituency the jobcentre is working with the council and with local charities as part of the improving outcomes for young black men programme. The focus of that programme is on harnessing successful young black men’s potential and tackling specific inequalities where they exist.

Photo of Mark Eastwood Mark Eastwood Conservative, Dewsbury

I am the Government’s new trade envoy to Pakistan, so does my hon. Friend agree that greater trade links and investment between our two great countries can only improve jobs and prosperity for all our communities?