Is race equality being taken off the political agenda?
CONGRATULATIONS, BLACK Britons, things are going so well for African and Caribbean communities that the race agenda is an unnecessary andoutdated thing of the past. As a result, race relations legislation is being watered down and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the statutory body charged with protecting and enforcing those laws, has had its budget slashed to the point of rendering it useless, according to some critics.
In the words of one politician who spoke to The Voice, “the lights are on, and that’s about it.” But if the future is looking so bright, what does it matter? The reality, of course, is that it does matter. Desperately.
One need only look at the depressing statistics that place black
communities proportionally worse off in almost every single area of
society: redundancies, unemployment, education, health, mental health,
the criminal justice system and even access to funding to start our own
Furthermore, the long-hard gains fought for by activists over the past four decades are being lost at a time when they are needed most. In times of austerity, evidence suggests that the need to protect marginalised and minority groups is even greater. Because of public sector cuts, the EHCR budget for 2014/15 is estimated to be £26.8m, a 62 per cent cut to its 2007 budget of £70m.