Liberal Democrats

F4: Eradicating Race Inequality (Race Equality Policy Paper)

This motion proposes a range of changes to combat what it describes as conscious and unconscious racism.

It notes how institutional racism still exists in the UK in the forms of child poverty, employment rates, mental health statistics and representation across public life.

It calls for actions to:

  • actively celebrate the UK’s diversity
  • measures to address instances of discrimination
  • improve ethnic minority representation through developing government ‘targets with teeth’, particularly to drive transparency of statistics in businesses and public life
  • protect funding of services that disproportionately benefit ethnic minorities

Mover: Baroness Hussein-Ece (Spokesperson for Equalities).

Summation: Merlene Emerson.

Conference celebrates the racial and cultural diversity of people living in the UK.

Conference is appalled that race discrimination in the UK still affects so many people and deplores the negative impact that this has on their lives. Conference abhors the slow progress made in redressing institutional racism in the criminal justice system and in many other institutions. Conference is particularly dismayed by the fact that:

  1. One in five children in Black households and one in four children in Asian households live in persistent poverty, compared to one in ten children from White British households.
  2. Around one in ten adults from a Black, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Mixed background were unemployed compared with one in twenty-five White British people.
  3. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) children are four times more likely than average to face exclusion from school and Black Caribbean pupils are three times more likely.
  4. Black African women are seven times more likely to be detained under mental health legislation in England than White British women.
  5. Ethnic minority people are underrepresented in public life: only 8% of MPs and 4% of councillors are from an ethnic minority group.
  6. Reports of hate crime rose sharply in the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit vote.

While the situation is bad enough for ethnic minority people, Conference notes that it is made so much worse for people who face multiple discrimination on the basis of their gender, their sexuality, whether they are transgender, their age and/or their disability.

Conference believes that if race inequality is to be properly addressed (be it in education, employment, health, housing or in the justice system) it requires a Liberal Democrat approach; we need to hold power and public institutions to account through values of fairness, transparency and accountability whilst giving individuals the skills and information that they need to make the best decisions that they can.

Conference calls for Liberal Democrats to combat racism – whether conscious or unconscious – wherever we find it. Conference endorses policy paper 135, Eradicating Race Inequality, as a statement of how the Liberal Democrats will do this.

Conference particularly calls for:

  1. The celebration of the UK’s diversity, by:
    1. Investing in projects that will promote ethnic minority role models in all walks of life.
    2. Using teaching on citizenship as part of the ‘curriculum for life’ in schools to promote understanding about the experience of ethnic minority people in the UK.
    3. Introducing a day to celebrate the positive impact of ethnic minority people on the UK over the centuries. Placing plaques, statues and memorials, and seeking new and imaginative ways to celebrate the historical impact of ethnic inority people around the UK.
  2. 2. Measures to address clear cases of discrimination, prioritising:
    1. Ending the hostile environment and providing prompt reparations in cases of miscarriage of justice.
    2. Exposing and confronting the stereotyping and demagoguing in public life which inflames hatred and supporting the work of organisations that tackle hate crime.
    3. Reducing the number of school exclusions by giving local authorities the remit and resources to act as Strategic Education Authorities for all schools in their area.
    4. Tackling health inequalities by funding public information campaigns to tackle stigmas within specific communities.
    5. Reducing the number of ethnic minority people criminalised with a drug policy that has a public health focus and with a whole-system approach to rehabilitation that prioritises diversion from the criminal justice system.
    6. Exposing and confronting the stereotyping in the media that leads to spikes in hate crime.
    7. Strengthening the equality duty for mainstream housing associations and tenant management organisations, and increasing support for specialist BAME housing associations as well as BAME community centres.
  3. Improvement of ethnic minority representation at all levels through fairer processes in admissions, recruitment or promotions within companies and organisations by:
    1. Introducing name-blind processes for organisations with more than 10 employees who are in receipt of public funds (including universities recruiting students) and requiring them to show they have considered the ethnicity of interviewees when appointing interview panels.
    2. Working with experts to develop a freely available comprehensive unconscious bias training toolkit and make the provision of unconscious bias training to all members of staff a condition of the receipt of public funds.
  4. Government to work with businesses, professional organisations and the public sector to agree and introduce ‘targets with teeth’ and drive a move towards greater transparency around ethnicity statistics, by:
    1. Promoting an attitude of openness and transparency towards data about diversity: beginning with publication of an ethnicity pay gap along the same lines as for gender pay gap data.
    2. Prioritising the following areas for implementing this approach: school exclusions of Black Caribbean and GRT children; the judiciary; senior management of organisations, including NHS Trusts; diversity in public life.
  5. The protection of funding to services that disproportionately benefit ethnic minority people, by:
    1. Establishing a national fund for projects that work in schools to raise the aspirations of ethnic minority children and young people.
    2. Investing substantially in youth services so that they are able to deliver a wider range of services, help more young people and provide better training to youth and outreach workers.
    3. Ensuring the powers and funding of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission are restored to 2010 levels and that there will be a new Cabinet Minister for Race Equality.

Applicability: Federal; except 1. b) (lines 44–46), 2. c) & d) (lines 57–61), 2. g) (lines 68–71) and 5. a) & b) (lines 98–103), which are England only.