North East Child Poverty CommissionPoverty and Ethnicity23 November 2012St Aidan’s College, DurhamEthnicity in the North East RegionGary CraigProfessor of Community Development and Social Justice, Durham UniversityFollowing on from Helen’s presentation, in which she focused on national findings from JRF-sponsored and other research on the associationsbetween poverty, particularly income poverty, and ethnicity, I want to do three things. First, point to the current highly negative nationalpolicy and political context for debates on ‘race’; secondly, sketch in the picture of understandings of poverty which go beyond income – here Imay briefly emphasise some of the points that Helen has made - and look at issues around access to services which are particularly importantfor this audience; thirdly, look at some regional data on ethnicity. I shall have to be brief in all these areas but I have brought flyers about arecent book I produced with colleagues called ‘Understanding ‘race’ and ethnicity’, in which these issues are discussed in considerable depth;and also handouts giving a recent picture of the ethnic demography of the region. What I will not do is to reflect on the regional distribution ofchild poverty. Jonathan Bradshaw has already done that; he shows that some local authorities, and some areas within them, have very highlevels of child poverty; as far as data allow us to say, minorities have disproportionately high levels of child poverty even within this generallyvery deprived region .First, then, the national policy and political context. The McPherson Inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence murder marked an apparent watershedin criminal justice responses to racism, especially policing responses to racially-motivated crimes. Despite legislation (including the RaceRelations Amendment Act [RRAA] 2000) and policy guidance, evidence suggests that the socially-constructed criminalization of Black andMinority ethnic (BME) communities continues. Minority groups are also disproportionately represented within the prison population butunder-represented in staff roles across the criminal justice system; ethnic monitoring remains work in progress, being uneven and at times,virtually non-existent.Cantle’s report following the disturbances of 1995 and 2001, introduced a focus on ‘community cohesion strategies’ in multi-ethniccommunities. Research documents a clear shift away from discourses of multiculturalism and fostering ‘routes across diversity’ towards a
concern with issues of security and ‘Islamophobia’, leading to an increase in racist hate crimes. Meanwhile, everyday issues facing minorities,including racism and racially-shaped disadvantage are fading from public and policy debate. The deracialisation of local policy characteristic ofcommunity cohesion rhetoric and practice, contributes strongly to the growing ‘invisibilisation’ of ‘race’ and ethnicity as significant when localauthorities determine targets for resource distribution.Britain’s stance towards ethnic minorities has never fundamentally addressed the racism inherent in both immigration and domestic welfarepolicies and, consequently, the welfare of Britain’s minorities – measured by outcomes in every welfare sector – has largely been disregardedby the British state, an argument developed in our book. Despite some liberal initiatives to improve the lot of Britain’s minorities, the racisminherent in much policy and practice persists. That the general experience of minorities is worsening under the present Coalition regime isindisputable; reviews of the Third Sector, and of the likely impact of the push towards the so-called ‘Big Society’, suggest that publicexpenditure cuts will disproportionately disadvantage BME populations. This approach contradicts government rhetoric whose apparentcommitment to greater support for the Third Sector, for example, makes little mention of the BME sector. Additionally, there is a gendereddimension: as the North East women’s network recently made clear, women will bear the brunt of the cuts and within that minority women(and children) will suffer the most.At the same time, apparently ‘race’-neutral wider policies are having a disproportionate effect on minorities. Although 60% of Black and Asianpeople have no savings, the Coalition government has quickly moved to cut two schemes – the Child Trust Fund and the Savings Gateway –which might have been of particular help to them. The impact of the benefits cap is resulting in many families in London being forced to facethe possibility of being relocated to other cities, characterised by some as ‘social cleansing’ but appearing on occasion more appropriately tobe described as ‘ethnic cleansing’. One landlord was required to evict forty families, all of whom were non-White British. These families wereoffered accommodation in Stoke on Trent, a stronghold of the English Defence League and the BNP. This tendency, for apparently even-handed policies to have a disproportionate effect on minorities is also apparent in multiple exclusion homelessness.This structural racism and discrimination has been manifest in other ways. Shortly before the merger of the equality organisations into theEquality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the outgoing chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, indicated thatvirtually every government department was open to prosecution for failing to observe the terms of the RRAA, prosecutions which haven’t,however, materialised. Since Lawrence’s death, around 100 racialised murders have occurred, and the disproportionate use of Section 60 ‘stopand search’ powers by police continue to target Black and Asian young people. Black people are up to 26 times and Asian people more than sixtimes more likely to be stopped and searched than White people. The Prevent agenda, widely criticised for labelling all Muslims as potentialterrorists, has also led to Asian people being 42 times more likely to be stopped than white people under the Terrorism Act 2000.
It would therefore seem self-evident that the United Kingdom, within all areas of welfare (including football!), has far to go before the problemof racism has been confronted. The response, however, of major national political parties is in reality quite the opposite. John Denham, NewLabour Communities Secretary, just before leaving office in 2010, argued – despite acknowledging the fact of racial inequality - that ‘it’s timeto move on from ‘race’’, suggesting that ‘race’ was no longer a priority when considering issues of inequality and that we should instead focuson, for example, questions of poverty. This flies in the face of the kind of wideranging evidence demonstrated by Helen.The appropriate position, in light of the evidence, should be to argue that the ethnic dimension of all national policy should be prominent,whatever policy is being pursued. Nevertheless, the Coalition, once in office, took the opportunity provided by Denham further to deny thesalience of ‘race’. Prime Minister Cameron announced (outrageously, in a speech about terrorism) that ‘multiculturalism is dead’, echoingstatements made by Merkel and Sarkozy, and underscoring the pronouncement by Home Secretary May that ‘equality is a dirty word.’ Therecent Communities Department strategic government policy document, tasked to address racial inequalities, fails to mention the issue ofindividual or institutional racism at all. A further example of this downgrading of the ‘race’ agenda is demonstrated by the regional BMEnetworks, established barely ten years ago by the Home Office Active Communities Unit, but losing funding from last March. Similarly, despitewelcoming community cohesion policy, the EHRC – criticised by BME groups for downgrading its attention to ‘race’ – is being stripped of itsresponsibilities for promoting social cohesion, and has now removed the two Commissioners having specific expertise in the area of ‘race’. TheGovernment Equalities Office, responsible for ensuring equalities work within government, has had its budget reduced from £76M in 2011 to£47m in 2014.May has removed the requirement (introduced previously as part of the Equality Act) that public bodies take inequalities caused by socio-economic disadvantage (disproportionately experienced by BME communities) into account when policy-making. Some local authorities arenow dismantling equalities structures, weakening claims by BME voluntary sector organisations (BMEVCS) for enhanced funding. They havebeen further encouraged to do so by Cameron’s characterisation of equality impact assessments as ‘bureaucratic nonsense.’ The Office forCivil Society also undermined historic gains made by the BMEVCS by withdrawing funding in 2011 from all strategic ‘race’-related partners.National and regional ‘voice’ and infrastructure BME organisations lost all state funding, a decision described by Voice4Change as ‘amonumental blow to the BMEVCS and the disadvantaged communities they serve’. Other major organisations serving more recent migrantslost all or most of their funding; the budgets of mainstream organisations with specialist services for minorities, such as CABx, have also beencut very substantially (with many bureaux closures). Given the fragility of the BME sector, we might have expected that a governmentcommitted to fairness would protect organisations serving them. The evidence points the other way. By early 2012, the EHRC’s budget had
dwindled to less than that of the former CRE and continues to decline; a further seven Race Equality Councils recently closed as a result of thewithdrawal of EHRC and local authority funding.Meanwhile, mainstream media contributions to debates on ‘race’ now focus almost entirely on the so-called ‘problem’ of immigration,reflecting a view that immigration (with the exception of some high-skilled migrants) is damaging to the economy, to specific groups ofworkers and to society more generally; the reality is quite different as much evidence shows. However, changes to the overseas domesticworker visa enable unscrupulous employers to exploit this vulnerable group of migrants even further and many accounts record the terribleconditions in which some migrants are now working.There is little doubt that racism continues to affect the lives and opportunities of minorities disproportionately – this has been shown in ourrecent report on the criminal justice system in the region - and thus impacts on the likelihood of minority children being in poverty in variousways. The Coalition government is creating a policy framework where it is becoming increasingly legitimate to ignore the disadvantage facedby ethnic minorities and their children because of their ethnicity. The question is what the response of local authorities might be and I remainto be convinced that the evidence is encouraging. Sadly, even the most recent report by the NE Child Poverty Commission on local authorities,local duties and local action has no dimension of ethnicity.This is important because local authorities remain the most important provider of services at a local level for both adults and children; andthey can influence the stance not only of other partners such as health services, but local attitudes to the issue of ethnic diversity. The nationalevidence regarding minorities’ access to welfare services is dismaying, and I see little evidence to suggest that local authorities in the regionhere are doing better: this is therefore an opportunity for local government in the region to develop good practice and resist the temptation tofall in behind government’s general hostility to minorities.What does this evidence show? We now have adequate data to consider the position of most minorities although we remain highly deficientboth in terms of the experience of gypsies and traveller groups, those seeking asylum and more recent migrant groups, issues of considerablerelevance to the region. I will look at a few major divisions of welfare and we have to remember that, whilst the overall picture for minorities ispoor, it is extremely important to acknowledge the sometimes significant variations both between and indeed within minority groups. Thusminority health workers include both Indian senior hospital consultants and Black African cleaners working night shifts and doing the dirtyjobs. Briefly, we know in terms of:
Housing: that ethnic minorities continue to face institutional discrimination in housing allocation; are three times as likely to be homeless asthe population as a whole; that minorities face a loss in precisely that specific social housing provision originally created to meet their needs;and are being driven into an increasingly exploitative private rented sector beginning to be reminiscent of the period of Rachmanism fifty yearsago.Health: minorities continue to face marked inequalities in health by a number of measures, both in terms of health outcomes and access toservices; experience substantial levels of institutional racism in health provision; people living in the poorest neighbourhoods –disproportionately minorities - will die on average seven years earlier than those living in the richest, and more of the shorter lives of poorerpeople will be spent in poor health and with disability;The labour market: minorities suffer disadvantage in the labour market as a result of several factors: lower earnings; higher unemploymentespecially amongst young people (young minority unemployment is now about 25% and higher for some groups); reduced access toeducational and training opportunities; crowding in less desirable jobs – with, at the extremes, legal migrants working in forced labour –modern slavery – conditions.Social care: BME communities have not been involved in the recent debates about the transformation of social care, including directpayments, the personalisation of care, and responses to disability, hence are at extreme risk of structural exclusion from the promises ofchoice and flexibility; they suffer from a failure of universal policies to recognise the diversity which exists amongst minority populations; andwill fail to receive the kind of support from voluntary and community organisations which policy shifts imply should happen, because the BMEvoluntary and community sector is itself under serious attack.Mental health: minorities have always suffered discrimination in the provision of mental health services with, for example, Black Caribbeanpopulations being over-diagnosed as schizophrenic, over-admitted to institutions and overtreated with invasive techniques; minorities havesuffered from the failure of epidemiology to develop an adequate theory of ethnicity for informing mental illness treatments; and from thefailure of mental health services to address BME cultural understandings and explanations of mental illness.I could go on to talk more about education, criminal justice, income maintenance and so on but I think the general message is clear both foradults and children. What is depressing, at a time of change, is how little these insights have affected those responsible for driving change. Forexample, at a recent CCG meeting, their spokeswoman, when asked how they were proposing to address specific issues for minorities,suggested that absolutely nothing had been done in this area: does this mean, for example, that we shall continue in 2013 to use children to
interpret for their parents in confidential GP consultations; or continue to fail to provide female doctors to respond to Muslim womens’ needs;or understand the specificity of some ailments such as thallasaemia? And as I have found out in several local authorities, the creation of aFairness Commission or something like it, as a means of addressing the impact of expenditure cuts, is meaningless unless it places minoritypopulations at the centre of debates, given that they are the ones which have historically experienced greatness unfairness and will do evenmore so at a time of cuts?Finally, then, let me turn to the region. I have made a handout available for colleagues to take away regarding the changing demography of theregion. If anyone would like an electronic version, please let me know by email. This was based on analysis of the 2009 population estimatesfor the region. I had hoped that the 2011 detailed census data would have been available in time for this meeting but unfortunately it is not.The general picture is clear, however. The data was put together for our recent report on ‘race’, crime and justice which showed that theresponse of the criminal justice system in the region lagged far behind these demographic changes and that minorities still experiencedconsiderable levels of both individual and institutional racism in the area of criminal justice and wider.In relation to that, I want to apologise for the press coverage of our recent report; not for ourselves but for the media treatment which,unhelpfully chose to sensationalise and misreport a statement I made. This was reported as ‘North East region forty years behind the rest ofthe country in responding to racism’. What I actually said was that because of recent rapid demographic change, the region was now facingissues which other parts of the country – such as London, Birmingham and Leicester – had faced forty years ago. This can be turned to youradvantage as there is good practice scattered across the country, and a growing evidence base, from which you can learn, for addressing theissue of the varying needs of ethnic minorities and their children. This is now a pressing issue. When I worked on Tyneside in the 1970s and1980s as a community activist, the minority population was very small and most organisations therefore played the numbers game, arguingthat it was not necessary to respond to their needs because their populations were small. That was never a justifiable argument – for examplewould you ignore those with green eyes, orange hair or spina bifida simply because their numbers were small? – and it is certainly not now.I recently undertook a study, funded by the Rowntree Foundation, of York and its changing demography: most public perceptions were then ofYork as a white anglo-saxon city. My conclusion was that the non-White British population was almost one in eight. This was initially receivedwith incredulity but the ONS published its own analysis a few months later confirming my figures. Perhaps the data we have gathered for theNorth East will be greeted with the same sense of disbelief but I hope that, if you don’t believe us, the ONS data will convince you. In summarywe found (and you should increase these figures by about 5% to allow for increases in the years 2009/2011): An overall increase in the region’s population from 2001 by about 44,000 (or 1.7%)
A decrease within that of the White British population of 57,000 The most significant regional changes within that being an increase in the White Other population by 25,000 (largely refugees); a doubling of ‘mixed’ categories to 18,000 (the fastest growing ethnic category); a more than doubling of the Indian and Chinese populations; and an increase by 50% in the Pakistani origin population. The most spectacular rise (more than tripling) has been amongst the Black African population, presumably the result of having two refugee dispersal areas in Newcastle and Middlesbrough. Overall, the White British population is now 92.5%; and the non-White population 5.3% but considerable higher both in some local authorities and in particular areas within many authorities. It appears, and this may be of interest to racists, that Easington remains the least diverse settlement in the North East where the chances of bumping into someone from a different ethnic group were recently computed recently to be just 2%.At a micro level, as even the 2001 census shows in the maps provided with the handout, minorities can be found in every part of the regionwhether urban or rural, with significant concentrations in many parts and that this profile contains within it considerable diversity anddifference. That picture will be emphasised in our analysis of the 2011 census which I will make available in the next month or two. The mapsare illustrations of the highly visual ways in which the distribution of minorities can be portrayed to help with the process of service andresource planning.And to return to the issue of children, central to this gathering, most minorities have an age profile considerably younger than that of thewhite British population; and some minorities have a higher fertility rate which means that the children’s population will be higher, as yourethnic monitoring in schools will show. Whilst that may require additional resourcing of schools, before anyone starts thinking of minoritiessimply as a burden, let us remember it is they who already and increasingly will staff our hospitals, provide our social care, teach our childrenand occupy the dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs that no one else is prepared to do. Let us also remember that the two highest achievinggroups in secondary schools are girls of Indian and Chinese origins; the lowest are boys of Black African and Caribbean origins, the result, inlarge part, of racism within schools.I hope this convinces you that it is long overdue that we faced the issue of responding effectively to diversity and difference in our populationand also that more effective engagement with minorities, through appropriate consultations with organisations representing BME groups of allkinds, orienting services effectively, and recognising and using their skills and expertise, will lead, in the end to better outcomes for us all.Thank you.
Newcastle - Largest Minority Populations by Ward Where there is more than one minority listed in a category the percentages of population are equal OEG represents Other Ethnic Group Minorities as per Per cent Second Per cent Per cent cent total Largest of largest of Third largest ofWard name ward code population minority population minority population minority populationBenwell 00CJFA 5.78 Pakistani 1.43 Indian 1.18 White Other 0.97Blakelaw 00CJFB 3.97 Chinese 0.80 White Other 0.73 Pakistani 0.44Byker 00CJFC 6.19 White Other 1.62 Pakistani 1.05 Indian 0.72Castle 00CJFD 4.76 Indian 1.17 White Other 0.96 Other Asian 0.52 White Other,Dene 00CJFE 9.73 Indian 1.77 Pakistani 1.72 Chinese 1.26 Pakistani, BlackDenton 00CJFF 2.36 Indian 0.51 White Other 0.50 African 0.22Elswick 00CJFG 27.22 Bangladeshi 11.72 Pakistani 7.62 Indian 1.87Fawdon 00CJFH 3.92 White Other 0.69 Pakistani 0.62 Indian 0.51Fenham 00CJFJ 11.66 Pakistani 5.10 Indian 1.59 White Other 1.56Grange 00CJFK 10.45 Indian 2.24 White Other 1.94 Bangladeshi 1.40Heaton 00CJFL 10.71 White Other 3.09 Pakistani 2.37 Indian 1.40Jesmond 00CJFM 11.30 white other 4.08 Indian 2.21 Pakistani 1.35Kenton 00CJFN 7.75 Pakistani 1.72 Indian 1.59 White Other 1.39Lemington 00CJFP 2.23 White Other 0.48 Indian 0.40 Pakistani 0.24 Indian,Monkchester 00CJFQ 2.97 White Other 0.57 Pakistani 0.51 Chinese 0.45Moorside 00CJFR 23.31 White Other 7.09 Chinese 2.76 Pakistani 2.38Newburn 00CJFS 1.73 White Other 0.53 Indian 0.22 Pakistani 0.16Sandyford 00CJFT 11.97 White Other 4.41 Chinese 1.95 Pakistani 1.13Scotswood 00CJFU 4.19 Pakistani 1.52 Indian 0.86 White Other 0.41South Gosforth 00CJFW 10.01 White Other 3.00 Indian 2.05 OEG 1.22Walker 00CJFX 3.42 Pakistani 0.80 Indian 0.54 White Other 0.47
Walkergate 00CJFY 2.98 Indian 0.71 Pakistani 0.61 White Other 0.39 NEWCASTLEWest City 00CJFZ 11.32 White Other 3.17 Pakistani 1.66 Chinese 0.25Westerhope 00CJGA 1.96 Indian 0.62 White Other 0.47 Chinese 0.25Wingrove 00CJGB 27.15 Pakistani 13.09 Bangladeshi 3.18 Indian 2.79Woolsington 00CJGC 3.09 White Other 0.76 Pakistani 0.53 Indian 0.52
Map of three largest minority populations Census 2001