Consultation launched on recession threat to equal opportunities

The government has launched a consultation on the threat posed to equal opportunities by the economic downturn.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) yesterday introduced a three-month consultation on how best to help the different needs of minority groups in everything from the job market and health services to education, housing and criminal justice.

The DCLG claimed that black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, as well as disadvantaged white people, are hit harder than others during recession because of the type of job they have or because they live in deprived areas.

Speaking at a conference marking the 10-year anniversary of the Macpherson report, communities secretary Hazel Blears said: “The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to achieving race equality needs to change. Different ethnic groups are experiencing disadvantage in different ways and are not all in the same position.

“If we are to make further progress, especially in light of new challenges such as the downturn, we need to identify what has and hasn’t worked.”

National and regional strategic partners working across a range of public services to tackle disadvantage or barriers will also be able to bid for £12m of work, the government added.

Last year, the TUC found the employment gap between white and black and minority ethnic workers (BME) was closing steadily.

However, in public sector organisations, including the police and education, too few BME employees are making the top grades.

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