by ALEXANDRA JARVIS
BLACK, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities have suffered the most due to government policies and budget cuts.
BAME families will also feel the effects after Britain’s exit from the EU stronger than any other ethnic group, according to the Special Rapporteur’s report in which they investigated racism, xenophobia and racial inequality in the UK on behalf of the UN’s Human Rights Council.
A report commissioned by the UN which was released in May highlights the issue of racial inequality in schools, describing how “race and ethnicity continue to have a significant impact on educational outcomes”. There has also been a clear rise in cases of racially motivated bullying in schools in which BAME children have been the targets.
Brexit expenditure figures estimate between £20 billion and £40bn already, leaving little
room for economic focus on racial and religious equality measures. Religiously motivated hate crimes have been on the rise since the referendum result and leftover hostile environment policies have encouraged the mass discrimination of a number of ethnic
and religious minority groups in the UK. Legal refugees and migrants have also been wrongly targeted with hostility measures; despite the hostile environment policy being denounced after the Windrush scandal it continues to influence attitudes and practices.
Statistics prove BAME households are at a disadvantage in comparison to white households, with the Race Disparity Audit (2017) showing BAME households
are two times more likely to live in poverty than white households. Figures between 2011 and 2013 highlighted how Pakistani and Bangladeshi households were more likely to live in inadequate accommodation, as high as 28.6 per cent. This soared above the figure for white households in poor housing situations as 18.6 per cent.
It has been stated that “austerity hits women harder” than men with BAME women especially feeling the negative effects of it. Post-referendum results show that public service cuts have increased significantly. This has led to the closure of several smaller women’s support groups and community projects, impacting the lives of BAME women
more so than white British women, as these have mostly been catered to BAME-specific needs.
The report highlighted incidents of pregnant women from the refugee and asylum-seeking communities reluctant to visit UK hospitals out of a fear of being targeted by the Home Office. Campaigners discovered evidence in December 2018 of police forces across
the UK reporting women from these social groups, including migrants, who had come forward regarding domestic abuse. Many of these women are BAME with statistics
showing BAME women are much less likely to report abuse, usually due to a fear of losing
refugee status or having their UK Marriage Visa revoked.
The key findings within the UN report and Racial Disparity Audit show that change is needed to protect BAME communities, especially post-Brexit. Effective equality measures must be put into place, whether this is cross-sector dialogues, programs, community
funding or policy changes.
Alexandra Jarvis is a writer for the Immigration Advice Service, an organisation of UK immigration solicitors which provides legal support for those looking to migrate to the UK or hire overseas workers.