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Turn2us responds to Sewell Report

  • 01/04/2021

National poverty charity Turn2us responds to the new report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities by highlighting disparities between the report’s argument and established data.

The Sewell report, which didn’t consider or include the brutal evidence of the coronavirus pandemic, denied that the UK still has systems rigged against people from ethnic minorities. However, independent data produced by Turn2us outlines a different picture:

  • The majority (80%) of workers from Bangladeshi descent have had their employment affected by the pandemic, compared to less than half (47%) of White workers. Black (63%), Pakistani (58%) and Indian (55%) workers have also been disproportionately affected
  • One in six (16.3%) people from Black Caribbean descent have had to borrow from friends or family since March 2020, compared to one in 11 (9.3%) white British people
  • One in eight (12.5%) people from Indian descent have had to sell belongings since March 2020, compared to one in 13 (7.8%) white British people
  • One in six (17.9%) people from Black African descent have had to go into their overdraft since March 2020, compared to one in 10 (10%) white British people
  • One in six (17.2%) of people from Pakistani descent have had to miss bills since March 2020, compared to one in 14 (7.3%) white British people
  • While over a third of people from both Asian and Black ethnic backgrounds frequently run out of money (34%, 36%), only a fifth of people from white ethnic backgrounds experience frequently running out of money (21%)

Thomas Lawson, chief executive at Turn2us, said: “People do not have an investment in proving racism exists, quite the opposite, people are invested in eradicating racism. You simply can’t do that unless you face the reality of this ongoing problem.

“There are deep-rooted economic inequalities in our society. At Turn2us we have seen this from our own data.  You are more likely to experience financial hardship if you are black. You are more likely to have lost your job in the coronavirus pandemic if you are Bangladeshi. You are more likely to experience deep poverty if you are Pakistani. This is not a coincidence; this is clearly a long-term endemic structural and institutional problem.

“Turn2us exists to support people who struggle to get by financially: we cannot ignore the clear link between race and poverty. We urge the government to not dismiss the reality of institutional racism and instead look at the evidence and produce a strategy to create meaningful change. For a society that believes in compassion and fairness, we have the moral obligation to fight the inequalities that have plagued us for too long.”

The latest report from the Social Metrics Commission shows that poverty rates are higher for people from minoritised backgrounds:

  • Nearly half (46%, 900,000 people) of all people living in families where the household head is Black/African/Caribbean/Black British were in poverty, compared to just under one in five (19%, 10.7 million people) of those living in families where the head of household is White.
  • People in Black and minoritised ethnic families are between two and three times as likely to be in persistent poverty as people in White families. For example, three in ten people (28%) living in families with a head of household that is from a mixed or multiple ethnic background, are in persistent poverty, compared to 10% of those living in families with a White head of household.