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Race Disparity Audit: Nine Statistics That Reveal Britain's Starkest Racial Inequalities

Racial inequality permeates issues such as criminal justice, health and education.

10/10/2017 16:20 | Updated 10 October 2017

Figures showing black men are nearly three times more likely to be arrested than white men, and black children three times more likely to be excluded from school, have been revealed in the Government’s first ever audit on race disparity.

The troubling findings highlight the “uncomfortable truths” about racial inequality in areas including criminal justice, education and health.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the review’s purpose is to “shine a light on the issues we are facing”.

Equalities and Human Rights Commission chairman David Isaac said the inequalities it showed could only be tackled by taking “focused action”. 

Here are nine of its findings that reveal Britain’s starkest racial inequalities: 

1. Black men are almost three times more likely to be arrested than white men

Cabinet Office

Approximately 44 in 10,000 black men were arrestedin 2015/16, compared with 15 for white people, 15.8 for people of Asian descent and 23 for people of mixed race.

While the use of stop and search on black people has fallen since 2008, they remain more than six times more likely to be stopped than white people.

2. Black children are excluded from school three times more than white children

PA Wire/PA Images
Theresa May is greeted by primary pupils during a visit to the Dunraven School in Streatham, ahead of the audit's publication

Around 0.29 percent of Black Carribean pupils are permanently excluded, compared with 0.10 percent of White British pupils. They were also twice as likely to receive to be temporarily excluded - 10.1 percent compared with 5.2 percent respectively. 

Gypsy or Roma pupils and those from an Irish Traveller background were also most likely to be excluded: 22 percent and 18 percent in 2015/16. They were also the most likely to be permanently excluded - 0.33 percent and 0.49 percent respectively - but the Cabinet Office warned these statistics were based on a much smaller student population.

3. Black, Asian and mixed race women are most likely to experience common mental health disorders

Cabinet Office

A total of 29 percent of black women said they had experienced a common mental disorder within the last week, compared to 21 percent of White British women and 16 percent of women of other white ethnicities.

The racial disparity among men reporting suffering was less, though a much lower proportion of men reported it across the board.

4. British White households are more than twice as likely to own their home as some other ethnic groups

Cabinet Office

More than two thirds of White British households - 68 percent - own their own homes and a similar proportion of Indian, Pakistani and Mixed and Asian households also own their homes.

But fewer than a quarter of Black African and Arab households own their homes. 

5. By age five, Gypsy/Roma children are already three times less likely to be doing well in school 

Cabinet Office

Children of Gypsy, Roma or Irish Traveller backgrounds are far less likely to do well in school. Around a quarter of Gypsy/Roma children achieve a good level of development at age five, a third of the average.

By the age of 16, their attainment has worsened. They achieve an average of 20 points, according to the “Attainment 8” score of GCSEs, compared to an average of 50 points and 62 points among Chinese pupils.

Among children aged between seven and 11 (Key Stage 2), 71 percent of Chinese children met the expected standard for reading, writing and maths, compared with 54 percent of white British pupils and 13 per cent of white Gypsy and Roma pupils

6. Poverty’s impact on school performance varies starkly

Cabinet Office

Children who are eligible for free school meals do worse at school almost across the board. But the attainment gap varies between different ethnicities. 

Among White British and White Irish children, those eligible for free meals were 16 and 17 points respectively behind their counterparts who weren’t eligible, according to the “Attainment 8” assessment of their GCSE performance.

Among Chinese, Bangladeshi and Black African children, there was a much smaller attainment gap. 

Chinese and Asian secondary school pupils perform better than white and black children, particularly those eligible for free school meals, although Pakistani pupils consistently fall behind, and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children do significantly worse.

7. The unemployment rate is double among ethnic minorities as among white people

Cabinet Office

Around one in 25 White British adults is unemployed, compared with around one in 10 of Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi people.

A lower proportion of white people are economically inactive, as well, with nearly two fifths of Bangladeshi and Pakistani adults not seeking work. Within this group, just over half of adults were employed, compared with nearly three quarters of White British adults.

8. White people have consistently received shorter prison sentences

Cabinet Office

The average length of prison sentences has increased for every ethnic group since 2009 and, in every year, white people received the shortest sentences.

In 2016, the average sentence for white offenders was 18 months, while Black and Asian offenders received the longest, at 24 and 25 months respectively.

9. There is a correlation between ethnicity and poverty

Cabinet Office

Just under a tenth of White British people live in “persistent poverty”, defined as having a low income this year and two of the three previous years. 

But close to a fifth - more than double - of Asian people, are in this category. A quarter of children in Asian households are also in it. 

Pakistani and Bangladeshi people are the most likely to live in deprived areas. Around 30 percent live in the poorest 10 percent of neighbourhoods.

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Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has dismissed claims that the audit risked creating a “false perception of victim status” that promoted “victim culture”. 

In a letter to The Times today, a number of prominent BAME activists - including former deputy London mayor Munira Mirza - hit back at the government’s “crude and tendentious” approach to the issue, saying the policies could “harm the very communities they aspire to help”. 

“All too often statistics are misused in a way that casts minorities as victims of racism and ‘white privilege’,” the letter says. 

But Javid denied the claims, saying he believed the audit would have “quite the opposite impact”. 

He told Radio Four’s Today Programme: “I think there will be people out there today taking note of this, whether they are from black, minority ethnic backgrounds or not, and thinking this is exactly the kind of thing they want their government to do.

“We are a government that said its going to work for everyone, a country that works for everyone and that means, where there are injustices, that we are doing everything we can to tackle and reveal them.”  

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