Race Disparity Audit - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:24 pm on 10th October 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Burt of Solihull Baroness Burt of Solihull Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Equalities) 3:24 pm, 10th October 2017

My Lords, this audit shines a light on the prejudice and bias that continue to blight the lives of black and ethnic minority members of our communities. It lays out the challenges we face as a society, which cross party lines. Mrs May, our Prime Minister, commissioned this audit and she cannot now shy away from tackling the causes, which are cuts to public services and a shrinking state. This comes alongside another report, by the Runnymede Trust, on the impact of austerity on black and minority ethnic women in the United Kingdom. It shows that BME households are being hardest hit by austerity, with a drop in living standards of 19.2% for black households and 20% for Asian households.

I have some questions for the Minister. Will each department be required to put forward a plan setting out why these disparities exist and how they will close the gap? What are the next steps? For example, will there be a Cabinet committee looking at this? Given the Prime Minister’s commitment to this cause, perhaps she might chair it herself. Finally, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s budget has been cut by almost 70% since it was created, and its current budget will be cut by a further 25% over the next four years. The Government are talking the talk by publishing this audit—but will they walk the walk and make available the resources to tackle these terrible problems that we face?