Minister We Have Failed Poor Whites; Class 'Is Now as Big a Problem as Race Discrimination'

Daily Mail (London), January 15, 2010 | Go to article overview

Minister We Have Failed Poor Whites; Class 'Is Now as Big a Problem as Race Discrimination'


Byline: James Slack Home Affairs Editor

POOR white families have been left 'struggling' in a Britain where social class is now as likely to cause disadvantage as a person's race, a Cabinet minister admitted yesterday.

Communities Secretary John Denham said that after a decade of Labour policies designed to tackle racism, the country had changed 'immeasurably for the better'.

But, in a reflection of Government fears over the electoral popularity of the BNP, he conceded some members of the white working class had not managed to keep up.

Mr Denham promised that, as a result of the new Equalities Bill, help would in future be targeted at all groups at risk of disadvantage, regardless of race.

'It is no longer enough to make simple judgments or assumptions which equate race with disadvantage,' he said.

'That would overlook, for example, the striking achievements of Indian and Chinese students - but it would also overlook the fact that white working class boys are struggling to keep up.

'We need to appreciate and understand the ways in which race interacts with other social factors - especially class - to influence and shape people's lives.

'So rather than reducing our efforts to tackle racism, we have got to be more nuanced in what we are doing.'

The Department for Communities has dedicated [pounds sterling]12million to social problems in 130 predominantly white working-class areas. The move is considered an attempt by Labour to counter the rise of the BNP.

Mr Denham's focus on working-class white males is at odds with the strategy pursued by Harriet Harman in recent years of deliberately targeting Government help at women and ethnic minority groups. …

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