We Demand Better for Race Equality

2 Jan 2019

Last week, the Resolution Foundation found that UK black and ethnic minorities (BAME) lost an estimated £3.2bn a year in pay gap and called for equivalent gender pay gap reporting for BAME workers. There was another report from Centre for Justice Innovation on how community sentencing has decreased due to the loss of trust between the judges and magistrates and the probation service since the latter was privatised.

It seems like there is report each week of evidence of race discrimination or breakdown of trust between the UK establishment and the ethnic minority communities. In 2018, the Grenfell fire tragedy and the Windrush scandal epitomised how many migrant families have been marginalised and treated with impunity by public institutions. For Liberal Democrats this is intolerable and has to change.

For those who may not be aware, set up by Federal Policy Committee (FPC) a year ago, I chair the Race Equality Policy Working Group which presented a Consultation Paper (no. 136) at the last Autumn Conference. Thanks to everyone who responded, there was a record number of some 2000 comments received, more than in any past consultation!

Next week, FPC will be looking at our draft motion that will be tabled at Spring Conference this year, with a range of over-arching policies to improve race equality in the UK: from Education and Employment to Housing and Health, from Criminal Justice to Participation in Public Life. This will be backed by a 12,000+ worded policy paper with specific policy recommendations including:

  1. a) Ending the hostile environment and providing prompt reparations in cases of miscarriage of justice.
  2. b) 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.
  3. c) Tackling health inequalities by funding public information campaigns to tackle stigmas within specific communities.
  4. d) 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.
    e) Exposing and confronting the stereotyping in the media that leads to spikes in hate crime.

In the meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality (LDCRE) has been beavering away much behind the scenes in helping the party implement the Alderdice Report findings with a strategy to change the culture of the party. You can view our Chair Roderick Lynch's video on the LDCRE facebook here.

So, if anyone is in need of New Year resolutions to consider, may I suggest you could add:

  • Joining LDCRE for as little as £1 a year
  • Coming to the Chinese LibDem Lunar New Year dinner on 19 Feb (and bring a Chinese friend) here.
  • Work with me and others within the party to demand better for race equality and to Eradicating Race Inequality in this country.

Happy New Year everyone!