BRITAIN will be an “opportunity country” under the Conservatives, David Cameron said this morning, as he outlined his 2020 vision for the country’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
There will be more jobs, university places, apprenticeships, loans for entrepreneurs and better representation in the police and armed forces for minorities, should his party win the May 7 election, Cameron said, adding: “I know that, one day, we’re going to be the party of the first black or Asian Prime Minister.’
At a campaign event in Croydon on Saturday (April 25), Cameron said: “I want this to be an opportunity country, where no matter who you are or where you’re from; whether you’re black, white, Asian or mixed race; whether you’re from the inner city or rural heartlands; you can make the most of your talents”.
While he did not elaborate how most of the targets would be achieved, Cameron insisted the party proposals were “a
mbitious but realistic aspirations to help people from all our communities really thrive”.
Our mission is to make sure that as our economy recovers, people from every community share in that prosperity.
Because after all, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, we all want the same thing – a good job, a great education, the chance to get on, the chance to make it.”
Although Britain was the “most successful multiracial democracy on the planet”, Cameron conceded that despite progress, some prejudice remained.
I’m not saying we’ve solved every problem or tackled every prejudice – we haven’t,” he said.
According to him, stop and searches by the Metropolitan Police – which have a disproportionately higher rate among black and Asian communities, have fallen by 43 per cent.
“This power is now beginning to be targeted much more effectively. And as (home secretary) Theresa May has made clear: if this progress does not continue, we will go further and we will change the law,” Cameron said.
He also pledged that the party will do more to increase BME recruits in the police.
Currently, 8.3 per cent of new police recruits are from the minority communties, while among officers, that figure is 5.2 per cent - below the 14 per cent of the general population.
Cameron said: “We will also look to increase new armed forces recruits to at least 10 per cent and on the way to 20 per cent BME by 2020.”
To “a truly successful multiracial democracy isn’t just about living together; it’s about thriving together”, Cameron said.
Citing the example of Sajid Javid, the Conservative cabinet member and Britain’s first secretary of state for culture, the Tory leader said: “We’ve got a country where in one generation you can make it to the top.”
He has pledged that
20 per cent of Conservative candidates in retirement seats at the next General Election will be from a BME background, if the Tories win. This time round, the party is fielding the highest number of BME candidates ever in its history: 56 BME candidates in England and Wales.
The Conservative “Vision 2020” proposals follow the launch of BAME manifestos by Labour and the Liberal Democrats in recent days.