Race Audit finds British Indians better off than people from other ethnic groups

Vidya Ram London | Updated on January 08, 2018

Community has highest rates of hourly pay, good education, high level of employment

The British government published a report earlier this week highlighting the huge differences in the experiences of ethnic minority groups across Britain in terms of access to public services ranging from education to health, as well as in the outcomes and treatment they experienced.

While the report unveiled many glaring and troubling differences such as the fact that black people were three times as likely to be arrested as white counterparts — it also builds up a snapshot of the British Indian community, which appeared to show them often better off than their counterparts from other ethnic minority groups.

Indians were half as likely to be stopped and searched by the police than their Pakistani counterparts, according to the latest figures from 2014, while levels of confidence in the police were among the highest across the board, including among those who identified as white British.

Well paid

When it comes to employment, British Indians had among the highest rates of hourly pay, above the national average and the white British community, while levels of employment were only marginally lower than those of white British (73 per cent against 75 per cent).

British Indians also did well in areas of education, with one of the higher rates of students achieving at least 3 A grades at A level in the final school exams. Aside from British Chinese, they were among the most likely to go on to further education after finishing school.

Indians, alongside white British, were also among the most likely to own their own home, and among the least likely to live in social housing. Just 8 per cent of the Indian community lived in overcrowded households compared to 30 per cent for Britain’s Bangladeshi households, and 2 per cent for white British.

Complex challenge for UK

The differences across the board highlight the complexity of the challenge facing the government when it comes to tackling racial and ethnic inequalities.

Prime Minister Theresa May commissioned the audit last year, and has worked with groups across the country, publishing the audit and a new website with statistics on over 130 topics, which will act as a permanent source of data — and gauge of levels of inequality.

“It’s a world first — no country has ever produced a piece of work looking at the lived experience of people of different ethnicities which is as extensive and as ambitious as this,” said May following a stakeholders meeting at Downing Street, highlighting some of the immediate ways in which the government would begin to tackle issues raised by the audit, including around prisons and schooling. “I think the message is very simple; if the disparities can’t be explained, they must be changed.”

Tackling inequality

While the audit has faced criticism from some who argue it does not address some of the complexities — such as the cultural reasons why there might be lower levels of employment among women from certain communities, the report and government initiative has been welcomed by many working to promote race equality.

“The findings from the Race Disparity Audit present us with a real opportunity to make transformative change in tackling persistent race inequality,” said Simon Wooley, Director of Operation Black Vote, following the report’s publication.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the publication of the report, which he said was a “wake up call” for the need for action across sectors.

Published on October 11, 2017

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