Commission for Racial Equality not up to the job

The chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has called for a new commission and new rules to meet the integration challenges facing the UK today.

Trevor Phillips said the establishment of a new Commission for Citizenship and Integration, would fulfil the CRE’s current duty of promoting and encouraging good race relations and do much more.

“The truth is, though our commissioners and staff do sterling and in some cases ground-breaking work, we do not have the resources, powers and the mandate to do this job coherently and properly,” he said.

“For this reason, if no other, in the next few years it is inevitable and right in my view that the Commission for Racial Equality will disappear and be supplanted by something new.”

Phillips sketched the outline of the proposed body. Its remit would include:

  • A leading role in conflict avoidance and resolution in race and ethnic relations, in much the same way that Acas does in the arena of industrial relations.

  • Advising government and employers on some of the more difficult issues of cultural conflict which arise every day; for example, how should a local authority which has concerns about the multi-ethnic nature of its population approach Christian festivals.

  • Responsibility for funding the existing network of race equality councils; providing small grants and raising funds to encourage integration in communities.

  • The funding and supervising of a proper programme of cultural and social integration for new migrants.

  • Developing opportunities for the young to meet other people outside their racial and ethnic groupings.

  • Tackling the growing extremism in society.

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