THE number of young ethnic minority workers unemployed for more than one year has risen by almost 50 per cent since 2010, figures released by the Labour party has revealed.
“Complacency towards Britain’s ethnic minority communities,” has been cited as the reason behind the 49 per cent rise in long-term
unemployment for black and Asian people aged 18-24.
Labour’s shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan MP called the statistics an “absolute disgrace” as the party pledged to guarantee every young person claiming benefits and out of work for over a year, a paid “starter job” and training.
It has claimed the move will help more than 3,200 BAME (black and minority ethnic) young people back into work. In total, 41,000 BAME 18-24 year-olds have been unemployed for over a year accounting for one-fifth of youth unemployment.
This is a 49 per cent rise from 2010, when there were 28,000 people out of work for the same period.
There has been a two per cent fall in long-term unemployment among young white people, resulting in an overall fall in long-term youth unemployment of one per cent, according to official figures by the House of Commons Library and the Office for National Statistics.
Khan told Eastern Eye: “These figures are an absolute disgrace. They show while unemployment is going down for everyone else, they are going up for black minority ethnic [groups]. It’s a generation thrown on the scrap heap.
“The broad problem is if you are out of work for a year, not only does it mean you are not working, it means you are not getting
the skills you need for the future.
“The government’s failure to get to grips with BAME youth unemployment shows their complacency towards Britain’s ethnic
minority communities,” he added.
However Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said that due to the fact
that the sample size of the group was small, it was difficult to conclude that things were necessarily getting worse.
Labour has stated that its jobs guarantee scheme would help more than 3,200 BAME young people back into work, which Portes said was a very small proportion of the total.
The party is set to produce a BAME manifesto highlighting Labour’s approach to furthering race equality ahead of the election in two months.
“For the first time ever, we are going to have a BAME manifesto. The idea is to show the various communities that we have an offer for them. We want the best possible policies that are bold and radical,” Khan told EE.
A Conservative spokesperson said: “Over the past five years, we have been working through a long-term economic plan to
secure a better future for everyone in Britain. There’s clear evidence that the plan is working, with more people in work than ever before and over half a million more members of the BME community enjoying the security of a regular wage.
“But the job is not done – that’s why we need to stick with our plan at this crucial election and not risk the chaos of the alternatives.”