The results of an audit of public services ordered by Theresa May when she first took office are set to reveal ‘uncomfortable truths’, the government has admitted.
The full results of the review, which will be published next week, will reveal how people of different backgrounds are treated across areas including health, education, employment and the criminal justice system.
Initial findings show the unemployment rate for black and minority ethnic people of working age is nearly double that for white British groups and that employment rates overall are far higher for white people than other groups across the country as a whole.
In education, more than nine in 10 headteachers are white British - but white pupils from state schools had the lowest university entry rate in 2016.
And on home-ownership, two out of every three white Brits owns their own home, while only two in five householders from any other ethnic group do.
Ahead of the full publication of the data, the PM said doing so would form part of the “fight against injustice” she pledged to wage in her first speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street
She added: “In doing this groundbreaking work we are holding a mirror up to our society. The idea itself is not new – Charles Booth’s maps of rich and poor areas in Victorian London drew attention to hardship that was too often hidden – but this focus on how ethnicity affects people’s lives will present findings that are uncomfortable.”
May said she wanted the data to become a permanent resource, which will be gradually added to over time, to allow people to see how services are performing in individual communities.
“My most fundamental political belief is that how far you go in life should be based on your talent and how hard you work - and nothing else,” she added.
“Britain has come a long way in my lifetime in spreading equality and opportunity, but this audit will be definitive evidence of how far we must still go in order to truly build a country that works for everyone.”
At the Conservative party conference on Tuesday, the government will announce an initial programme of “targeted hotspots” in areas where the employment gap is largest, including mentoring programmes and work placements for young people.
The full audit will also present a granular picture of life for ethnicities in different parts of the country, as well as significant disparities between different ethnic minority groups and the sets of data used will stretch back more than a decade.
Among the more detailed findings will be the parts of the UK where young black children perform best in school, the proportion of judges from an ethnic minority, which parts of the community have the greatest fear of crime, and whether white teenagers are more or less likely to smoke.
The full dataset will be published on a new website, called Ethnicity Facts and Figures, on Tuesday, October 10.