Race report: What you may have missed from the government's landmark study

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

The UK is no longer a country where the “system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities”, a landmark report published on Wednesday argued.The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities was asked to produce the report by the government in the wake of last summer's Black Lives Matter protests. The study's purpose is to provide the UK with a "road map for racial fairness", commission chairman Dr Tony Sewell said.

However, the report has been criticised by those who feel it does not address structural issues, such as shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy, Sir Keir Starmer and Runnymede Trust CEO Dr Halima Begum.

ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Khan says senior figures in the justice system, education and health have dismissed the race report:

ITV News looked at the key points from the 264-page report and highlighted what you may have missed:

Other social factors have a “more significant impact” on life chances than racism

The report said that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion all affect life chances more than racism does.

“The impediments and disparities do exist, they are varied, and ironically very few of them are directly to do with racism," the report said.

England footballers take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement Credit: Nick Potts/PA

“The evidence shows that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism.

“That said, we take the reality of racism seriously and we do not deny that it is a real force in the UK.”

There is a "reluctance" to acknowledge society has progressed

The report said that among some groups there was a “reluctance to acknowledge that the UK had become open and fairer”.

“The word mistrust was repeated often as some witnesses from the police service, mental health, education and health services felt that the system was not on their side,” Dr Sewell said.

He added that when the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities analysed data, they found some evidence of biases, "but often it was a perception that the wider society could not be trusted".

The study found that a number of ethnic groups had higher hourly earnings than the white British ethnic group. Credit: PA

“For some groups, historic experience of racism still haunts the present," Dr Sewell said.

Education has been a resounding "success story"

The Commission said education is “the single most emphatic success story of the British ethnic minority experience” and the most important tool to reduce racial disparities.

It found that children from many ethnic communities do as well, or better than, white pupils in compulsory education, with black Caribbean pupils the only group to perform less well.

Success in education “should be regarded as a model for other white-majority countries,” it added.The ethnicity pay gap and employment differences are shrinking

The pay gap between all ethnic minorities and the white majority population has shrunk to 2.3% - the lowest level in almost a decade, the report found.

It said the gap is not significant for employees under 30.

The study also found that employment rates for white British and Indian ethnic groups were 77% and 76% respectively in 2019. They were 69% for black people and 56% for people in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group.

Employees from the white Irish, Indian and Chinese ethnic groups on average had higher hourly earnings than the white British ethnic group, the report suggested.

The ethnicity pay gap has shrunk to its lowest level in almost a decade, the report found. Credit: PA

Ethnic minorities had been making progress up the professional and occupational class ladder, although there remained under-representation at the very top, the study indicated.

Black Lives Matter has highlighted race, but risks being "fatalistic"

The report thanked the “mainly young people” behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement for shining a light on race but said progress could not be achieved by “cleaving to a fatalistic account that insists nothing has changed”.

“We were established as a response to the upsurge of concern about race issues instigated by the BLM movement,” the report’s conclusion said.

“We owe the mainly young people behind that movement a debt of gratitude for focusing our attention once again on these issues.

“But most of us come from an older generation whose views were formed by growing up in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Our experience has taught us that you do not pass on the baton of progress by cleaving to a fatalistic account that insists nothing has changed.”A "new" take on slavery could benefit school students

The report outlined a 'Making of Modern Britain' teaching resource, which aims to look at the influence of the UK, "particularly in the Empire period".

The Commission wrote that there is a "new story about the Caribbean experience which speaks to the slave period not only being about profit and suffering, but how culturally African people transformed themselves."

This part of the report has received significant backlash.

Shadow women and equalities secretary Marsha de Cordova said: “Putting a positive spin on slavery and empire. Published on a government website in 2021. Is this for real?”

BAME should no longer be used

The Commission recommended that the acronym BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) should no longer be used.

It said differences between groups are as important as what they have in common.