Indians come off best in grim UK race report

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2016 18:12 IST
Image from the report released by Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. (Courtesy EHRC)

Britain’s Indian community is among the best performing communities on several social indicators, according to a major report on race relations released on Thursday that paints a grim picture about state failure to tackle “deep-rooted race inequality”.

Titled “Healing a Divided Britain”, the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reveals a “very worrying combination” of a post-Brexit vote rise in hate crime and long-term systemic unfairness and race inequality in British society.

Reviewing race equality across every aspect of people’s lives, including education, employment, housing, pay and living standards, health, criminal justice and participation, the report said the 1.4 million-strong Indian community is among the top performers, particularly in education. 

Indians saw the largest increase (18.1 percentage points) in degree-level qualification between 2008 and 2013, while unemployment was lowest among Indians (9.2%) and highest in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, the report said.

On pay, it said “the Indian ethnic group did not experience a significant reduction in average pay which resulted in a positive pay gap in 2013; Indians were paid 8.9% more per hour on average than the White ethnic group”.

Except for Indian and Chinese women, the report revealed women from other ethnic communities earned significantly less than their white counterparts. Indians also had the lowest child poverty rate, it added. 

However, the report noted that India, with 75 cases, was among the top five countries linked to cases of forced marriage handled by the Foreign Office. The cases involved a British national being forcibly married to a non-British national in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Somalia.

EHRC chair David Isaac said: “The combination of the post-Brexit rise in hate crime and deep race inequality in Britain is very worrying and must be tackled urgently. Today's report underlines just how entrenched race inequality and unfairness still is in our society.”

He added, “If you are black or an ethnic minority in modern Britain, it can often still feel like you’re living in a different world, never mind being part of a one nation society. It is very encouraging to hear the new Prime Minister's commitment to tackling inequality.”

After Britons voted in a June 23 referendum to leave the European Union, there was a sharp spike in racist incidents and attacks on ethnic minorities.  

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