Budget fails to invest in Britain’s diverse future
8 March 2017
Responding to Philip Hammond’s budget, Dr Omar Khan, director of the race equality think tank Runnymede Trust, said:
“The Chancellor said he’s investing in Britain’s future. We didn’t see much evidence of him investing in Britain’s increasingly diverse future. Ethnic minorities that currently face serious barriers at work. Today those barriers got a little higher for Britain’s ethnic minorities, who will rise to over a quarter of the population by mid-century.
“The failure of successive governments to prevent the waste of ethnic minority talent is a structural weakness as damaging as the decline in manufacturing or the impact of Brexit.
“Last week the government-commissioned report by Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith showed that Britain is losing £24 billion every year, or 1.3% of GDP, because ethnic minorities are failing to progress in work. This is a scandal.
“Our economic analysis has shown that tax and benefit changes since 2010 have disproportionally hit ethnic minorities. Today’s budget has done nothing to improve the lives of BME families or Britain’s future competitiveness.
“We will be analysing Philip Hammond’s budget to determine the overall impact on ethnic minorities. But the initial assessment does not look good. Rewarding savers who deposit over £20,000 per year into an ISA will disadvantage BME families who are less than half as likely to own an ISA and twice as likely to have no savings at all.
“The 2% rise in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed will hit those working on low wages with little security in the gig economy. These workers are more likely to be ethnic minorities. Enforcing existing employment rights will combat discrimination and pay inequality than any of the measures proposed in recent budgets.”
The Runnymede Trust call on the Chancellor to:
· Publish an equality impact assessment for his latest budget;
· Pledge to end child poverty, which disproportionately impacts on BME children;
· Ensure that tax and benefit changes reduce, not increase, BME take-home income;
· Encourage banks to boost financial inclusion and promote fair interest rates for credit;
· Act to incentivise insurance firms to lower premiums for the low income.
Notes to Editors:
1. Runnymede Trust and the Women’s Budget Group will be releasing new economic analysis on the impact of today’s budget on women and ethnic minorities, which will be ready tomorrow.
2. Runnymede Trust and the Women’s Budget Group assessed last autumn’s financial statement and all tax and benefit changes from 2010 to 2020 by impact on women and ethnic minorities. See the analysis here: http://wbg.org.uk/news/new-research-shows-poverty-ethnicity-gender-magnify-impact-austerity-bme-women/
3. Runnymede Trust assessed the 2015 budget for impact on ethnic minorities. This can be viewed here: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/The%202015%20Budget%20Effect%20on%20BME%20RunnymedeTrust%2027thJuly2015.pdf
4. Dr Omar Khan wrote an article on how black women fare in the job market. This can be viewed on pages 5 to 6 of this bulletin: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/bulletin/pdfs/Autumn2010FinalWeb.pdf
5. Read Dr Omar Khan’s report on financial inclusion and ethnicity here: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/publications/pdfs/FinancialInclusion-2008.pdf
6. Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith’s employment review can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/increase-in-bme-workplace-progression-could-give-uk-economy-a-24bn-boost-baroness-mcgregor-smith-review-finds