Theresa May has challenged public services over how they treat people of different races.
The prime minister says institutions must “explain or change” any variations, as she released data on a new government website.
It shows unemployment for black, Asian and minority ethnic people at nearly double that of white Britons, and disparity in who owns their own home.
Critics say publishing the data is not enough, and that solutions are needed.
The government says the figures included in data from across departments suggest:
“People who have lived with discrimination don’t need a government audit to make them aware of the scale of the challenge,” Mrs May said.
“But this audit means that for society as a whole – for government, for our public services – there is nowhere to hide.”
Shaneil, from Moss Side, Manchester, told the BBC: “It shouldn’t matter where you come from or your race. You should be equal, you should be able to do anything you want to do.
“We need more different ethnicities to be in power as well.”
Almost all the data released on ‘Ethnicity Facts and Figures’ is already publicly available and no new data was commissioned for the audit.
The site aims to be user-friendly, highlighting disparities between ethnic groups, some by age or gender, location or income, BBC home editor Mark Easton says.
But it does not attempt to explain why these differences exist.
But critics from ethnic minority backgrounds, including former deputy London mayor Munira Mirza, in a letter to The Times, said the “crude and tendentious” approach of comparing the data in the website risked “promoting a grievance culture and policies that harm the communities they aspire to help”.
They said prejudice had declined “markedly” and while injustice must be challenged, there were often many underlying factors to explain differences.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid denied it would drive a grievance culture but said it would help identify disparities.
“There are hundreds of thousands of British Pakistani women and Bangladeshi women who don’t speak proper English, who don’t speak English at all,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.
“That might be through choice in some cases, it might be a cultural issue. But that is a big issue because that does then hold those women back from the employment market and other opportunities”, he said.
David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the data must be used to set the foundations for change and address “entrenched inequality”.
Labour’s Dawn Butler said government cuts to services had disproportionately affected women, ethnic minorities, disabled and older people.
The report was not enough and solutions were needed, she added.
Although the audit does focus on government policies, Mrs May is launching a number of measures to combat the differences discovered.
They include Department for Work and Pensions “hotspots” to help people from ethnic minorities get jobs, and traineeships for 16-24 year-olds.
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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41560927