MILLIONS of people from ethnic minority communities are at risk of becoming poorer at a faster rate than white people in the Conservative government’s budget, a report has found.
The study by race equality think tank Runnymede Trust found four million black and minority ethnic people could be left with less income, with one of the worst affected groups being British Muslims.
It added that although the budget, announced earlier this month, will make national minimum wage rise to £9 a hour in 2020, changes to tax credits and other welfare payments will hit minority ethnic Britons harder than their white counterparts
Omar Khan director of the trust who compiled the report told the Guardian that minority ethnic Britons were twice as likely to lose out as white Britons from George Osborne’s plans.
“Black and minority ethnic people are more likely to be disadvantaged by the budget. While ethnic minorities form around 11 per cent of households and 14 per cent of the UK population, we expect them to be over 15 per cent of households and around 25 per cent of individuals worst affected by the budget – because of their younger age, higher child poverty, lower wages, fewer pensioners and greater part-time working.”
He added: “We anticipate up to half of Bangladeshi and Pakistani households will be worse off – around 750,000 individuals in just under 200,000 households. The figure will be a bit lower proportionally for black African households, but no fewer than 300,000 individuals and 100,000 households will be negatively affected.”
The Guardian reported how among ethnic minorities, around 1.25 million households and more than four million people could be worse off, according to the study. Runnymede adds the figure could be several hundred thousand times higher and its calculations may underestimate the impact of the first Conservative budget in 18 years.
Runnymede said the government should carry equalities impact assessment because the budget will increase racial inequality.
“The question isn’t whether government deliberately makes BME (black and minority ethnic( people worse off, but rather whether the effects of policies, directly or indirectly, increase racial inequality in reality.
A Treasury spokesperson said: “This Budget set out a new contract with Britain, moving from a low wage, high tax, high welfare economy to a lower welfare, lower tax and higher wage economy. These changes mean that work will always pay more than a life on benefits, and the vast majority of working households will be better off once the changes have come into force in 2017. And all families are better off when you live in a country with the economic security that comes from living within its means.
“HMT has fully considered equality impacts on different protected groups.”