The Labour party have just released shocking figures regarding youth unemployment in the UK, specifically the unemployment of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
An analysis of statistics from the House of Commons Library shows that since the coalition government came into power there has been a 49% increase in the number of ethnic minority 16-24 year-olds who are out of work, putting the total current figure a staggering 41,000.
Quite rightly these figures have cause outrage particularly in light of the fact that overall youth employment is on the decline, meaning that BME youngsters are disproportionately suffering joblessness. (Over the same time period, since 2010, there has been a 1% decrease in total long-term youth unemployment; a 2% decrease in white youth unemployment).
Shadow Justice Secretary and Labour MP Sadiq Khan said: “These figures are astonishing […] At a time where general unemployment is going down and employment is going up, it is doing the reverse for this group… we have got a generation that is being thrown on the scrapheap, and what compounds it is that a disproportionate number are black, asian, minority ethnic.”
Mr Khan also warned of the detrimental consequences if action is not taken to correct this racial discrepancy in employment. “This is going to lead to problems for years to come,” said Khan. “How can we tackle issues around lack of BAME people in the judiciary, civil service or the boardroom if they can’t even get a job as a young person? We are stopping a generation fulfilling their potential and that is not just a problem for them as individuals or their wider families, it is a problem for all of us,” said the shadow justice secretary.
Simon Wooley, director and founder of Operation Black Vote, echoed Mr Khan’s concerns. Mr Wooley said: “It is absolutely critical that political parties have a plan to address this shocking statistic because at the moment it seems as though a generation of young black men – and it is often men and sometimes women – are being cast aside and it is to the detriment of us all.”
The Tories insist, however, that the current figures are the result of decisions made by Labour when they were last in power. “Labour crashed the economy and put everyone’s financial security at risk, with the number of unemployed BAME people doubling last time they were in power,” a Conservative spokesman said.