Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Bridging the Gap; Minorities Behind in Employment Numbers

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Bridging the Gap; Minorities Behind in Employment Numbers

Article excerpt

Byline: By SARAH JUDD

THE gap between the employment rate for ethnic minorities and the general population is still "significant" and could take 30 years to eliminate, according to an official report.

Despite some progress in closing the gap, the employment rate was 60% for ethnic minorities, compared with 74% for the population as a whole, said the National Audit Office.

The reasons for the lower levels of employment included discrimination and unequal treatment of ethnic minorities and the fact that some live in deprived areas with high jobless rates.

Schemes introduced by the Department for Work and Pensions in recent years to tackle the gap had cost pounds 40m to find 15,500 jobs and had now been discontinued, said the report.

One of the consequences of lower employment rates was increased levels of poverty, highlighted by the fact that 19% of the white population lived in low-income households compared with 56% of the Pakistani and Bangladeshi population.

The number of Pakistani and Bangladeshi children living in low-income households was 60% compared with 23% for white children.

Tim Burr, comptroller and auditor general said: "Some progress has been made in tackling unemployment rates within ethnic minority groups, but the reality is that over recent years, while there has been a slow but steady improvement, the overall reduction in the employment gap has been modest.

"The Department for Work and Pensions' strategy has been fragmented but is being refocused on those living in deprived areas.

While this provides opportunities to help those most disadvantaged, it carries the risk that some ethnic minorities may not receive the help they need to get a job. …

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