Molly Scott Cato, an economist and Green MEP for Bristol, has today responded to the ‘growing evidence’ of ethnic inequality in Bristol. Her comments come after a report found that Bristol's BME community are more disadvantaged than in any other UK core city.
The latest study from the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CDE) and the race equality think tank, Runnymede Trust, measured the 'ethical penalty' faced by BME populations across the UK. It found that of the ten core cities studied, Bristol's BME communities have the worst opportunities in terms of employment, health and education.
Molly Scott Cato said:
'There is a growing body of evidence that Bristol's BME community are significantly disadvantaged. This report represents a reminder of the ongoing challenge to all local politicians to do better by black and ethnic minority communities in the city.
‘Multiculturalism and diversity are greatly respected in Bristol. It is also a compassionate city, as demonstrated by the fact refugees have for decades been welcomed to the city. And now we see Bristol West with the highest number of signatories of anywhere in the country signing a petition calling for Donald Trump to be barred from a state visit to the UK following his executive order preventing refugees to the US.
‘However, we must not be complacent about the fact that in economic terms we continue to be a very unequal society, and specifically, it is the Afro-Caribbean and Somali communities who are losing out in Bristol.'
The report calls for a national race equality action plan, an idea welcomed by Molly Scott Cato:
‘In Bristol there already exists a plan that sets objectives to improve educational and employment opportunities for BME groups in Bristol, a plan developed and produced by those best equipped to understand what needs to be done – Bristol’s BME groups themselves. Additionally, we need to look at how the national curriculum can be better tailored to the needs and experiences of BME groups, how we can recruit more teachers from BME backgrounds and how to better engage with BME parents. Workplaces need to be welcoming to BME people and reflect the ethnic diversity of the communities in which they operate.
The recent tasering by police of Ras Judah Adunbi, a respected elder within the BME community, has highlighted the continuing divisions in our community. We must look to be building bridges between the BME community in Bristol and those in power. I know Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees takes these issues incredibly seriously. I also know he is working within Bristol to implement many of the recommendations of the Bristol Manifesto for Racial Equality, but it is also clear that there is a need for action at a national level. I, therefore, hope he will support, and indeed champion, the call for a national race equality plan.’