Theresa May demands 'explain or change' approach in battle to defeat ethnic injustice

Posted On: 
9th October 2017

Theresa May today opened a major front in “the battle to defeat ethnic injustice” as she published a landmark audit illustrating the stark divides in society.

Theresa May will say: "There is nowhere to hide. These issues are now out in the open."
PA Images

The Prime Minister will vow that if the chasms in equality thrown up by the findings “cannot be explained then they must be changed”.

She will launch a unique website making the audit results a public resource, lay out a string of measures to tackle the issues, and set up a specialist unit at the heart of Government to monitor progress.

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Results from the unprecedented audit examining how different backgrounds are treated across areas including health, education, employment and justice make for stark reading.

One finding shows that the unemployment rate for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds is almost double that for white British groups.

The new Ethnicity Facts and Figures website will detail thousands of statistics covering more than 130 topics across the public service spectrum.

Mrs May will tell her Cabinet at a special meeting today: "People who have lived with discrimination don’t need a government audit to make them aware of the scale of the challenge. 

“But this audit means that for society as a whole - for government, for our public services - there is nowhere to hide. These issues are now out in the open.

“And the message is very simple: if these disparities cannot be explained then they must be changed.

She added: “Britain has come a long way in my lifetime in spreading equality and opportunity.

“But the data we are publishing today will provide the definitive evidence of how far we must still go in order to truly build a country that works for everyone.”


Mrs May will lay out plans to target ‘hotspot’ areas where there are big gaps in employment - including extra training for young people and partnerships with employers.

And she will implement a range of recommendations from the Lammy Review into the criminal justice system - such as more ethnicity data publication and ensuring the workforce is representative.

According to the audit, employment rates are far higher for white people than BAME groups and more than nine in ten headteachers are white British.

Two in three white British householders own their home, though only two in five of householders from any other ethnic group do, the report finds.

But it adds that white pupils from state schools had the lowest university entry rate in 2016.

Mrs May commissioned the audit - which includes data stretching back a decade - as one of her first acts after winning the keys to Downing Street in July last year.