Denham: White working class young as disadvantaged as anybody

The Government today reaffirmed its commitment to tackling inequality in white working class areas in a bid to ward off the electoral threat posed by the British National Party.

Launching a review of government policy on race, communities secretary John Denham said promoting race equality was a "complex" challenge that also involved issues of class and social inequality, and pledged to tackle all forms of discrimination and disadvantage.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme, Denham said: "You will find white working class young people who have as much disadvantage as anybody, so what we’re saying now is that we deal with racism and racial discrimination but we deal with it as we will do in the new equalities bill by making clear our commitment to tackle disadvantage wherever it comes from.

"We recognise that disadvantage can be because of social class and this can affect people from black backgrounds, Asian backgrounds, white backgrounds. We are determined to tackle this form of inequality with all the vigour that we would tackle racial inequality."

Speaking on the same programme, Lord Herman Ouseley, former chair of the Commission for Racial Equality said: "The gap in inequality has widened, inasmuch that there is more inequality now than there was 10-12 years ago and that includes those from racial minorities as well as indigenous white communities."

The Government review, Tackling Race Inequality: A statement on race, details a range of measures that Whitehall will put in place to support this agenda. They include greater scrutiny of public bodies on how they address equality issues and a new Government Equalities Office ambassadors network to encourage people from under-represented groups to apply for public appointments.

The full document can be found here.

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