Young, jobless… and black: Ethnic minority unemployment soars under Cameron

Reuters / Darren Staples
​The number of ethnic minority youths unemployed for over a year has risen by around 50 percent since the Tory-LibDem coalition came to power, according to new Labour figures.

That is despite data from the National Office of Statistics suggesting that overall unemployment fell by nearly 190,000 last year.

The figures suggest that there are now over 40,000 black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) between the ages of 16 and 24 who had been unemployed for over 12 months.

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It represents a rise of 49 percent since the coalition government came to power in 2010, according to figures from the House of Commons library.

Labour immediately used the figures to strike out at its rivals.

Shadow equalities minister Gloria Del Piero told the Guardian: “The government’s failure to get to grips with BAME youth unemployment shows their complacency towards Britain’s ethnic-minority communities.

Ethnic-minority Britons have been hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis and many communities are really struggling.

A Conservative spokesman fired back, telling the paper: “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.

He added that under the coalition over half a million BAME people were “enjoying the security of a regular wage.

READ MORE: ‘Ethnicity gap widening’: Top UK directors overwhelmingly white, study shows

While figures shed new light on the issue, evidence of poverty and deprivation in BAME communities is longstanding.

In a report published by the St George’s Mental Health Trust last June it was found that high rates of mental health issues among BAME groups were due to the endemic economic disadvantages they faced.

Inequality is also reflected in the upper reaches of British society.

In December, it was revealed that top management in Britain’s biggest companies was becoming less ethnically diverse, despite government attempts to encourage the promotion of minorities to senior posts, according to a recruitment organization.

Growing racial inequality at the top of FTSE 100 companies was demonstrated by the percentage of all-white executive teams, which increased from 65 percent in February to 69 percent in December.

The fall in diversity came despite calls by Business Secretary Vince Cable’s for companies to take on more non-white directors.