BME National has hit out at the recent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report, responding with “disappointment” and “disbelief”.
The group said: “Disappointment that it views racism through a particular political lens, and disappointment that it adds nothing to the debate about tackling racism and takes a discredited and uninformed view of the problems in our society.
“Disbelief as it cherry-picks data to suit an ideological narrative and dismisses the lived experience of many.”
BME National added: “At a time of a global pandemic which has disproportionately claimed the lives of thousands of people from minority backgrounds, it downplays and minimises the effect of structural and institutional racism, which has already been acknowledged as having a significant negative impact in the previous Macpherson, Lammy, Marmot, Williams reviews.”
The report, also known as the Sewell Report, was commissioned by the government in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
But BME National – which represents black and minority ethnic housing associations in the UK – says the report fails to make a “useful contribution” to addressing issues around race and inequality, adding that the it represents a Britain that “is not the experience of BME National and its members”.
‘Retreats into denial’
On housing, the group called out the report for lacking depth and focus.
BME National said: “The report only touches on housing slightly and (as is usual) examines home ownership rather than looking at wider tenures of social and private-rented sector housing, where inequalities are also exacerbated.
“However, our view has always been that ethnic minority households are under-concentrated in home-ownership generally, and outright home ownership specifically.
“This puts them at a disadvantage in terms of wealth and asset accumulation in society, where unprecedented house-price growth has fuelled family wealth.
“Of critical importance to us is what is missing.
“Nothing on building cohesive communities and breaking down concentrations of deprivation, nothing on the housing crisis and market failure, one mention of the Grenfell Tower tragedy (and nothing about the racial disparities highlighted there), inclusive leadership and governance is only mentioned in passing in terms of the education sector, and there is nothing there about organisations reflecting the communities that they serve.”
BME National added: “We believe that this report could have been a call to action to help tackle major racial injustices in a society that is ready for change.
“Instead, it retreats into denial and is a missed opportunity.”
One in three homeless households are from ethnic minority backgrounds, despite comprising around one in seven of the general population.
2% of White British households are overcrowded compared with 24% of Bangladeshi households; 18% of Pakistani households; and 16% of Black African households.
Ethnic minority households are more likely to live in older and fuel-poor accommodation and in flats and terraced homes in the most deprived neighbourhoods and worst living environments, including lack of access to green space.
Image: I Wei Huang/Shutterstock
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