Ethnic minorities ‘twice as likely to live in poverty than white households’

Ethnic minorities in Scotland are more likely to experience overcrowding, poverty and unemployment, according to a new report.

Research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) shows that in 2013, ethnic minority households were four times more likely than their white neighbours to live in overcrowded properties.

People from ethnic minorities were more than twice as likely to live in poverty compared to those who identified as “white-British”, while unemployment rates were significantly higher, at 13.2% compared with 6.9%.

In 2013, only 57.4% of people from ethnic minorities were in work compared to 73.8% of white people.

The report also found that one in four Scottish pupils said they were aware of peers suffering prejudice-based bullying.

EHRC Scotland director Alastair Pringle said: “This report shows Scotland has unique challenges to address on race equality.

“Whilst we do not share the issues of racial disproportionality of stop-and-search or high ethnic minority prison populations that our report highlights elsewhere in Britain, ethnic minorities in Scotland still face real challenges in terms of poor housing, unemployment and poverty.

“The Scottish Government is taking action on these issues, but their policies are often targeted at areas of socio-economic deprivation.

“Our evidence shows that while people from ethnic minorities experience higher levels of poverty and unemployment, they don’t necessarily live in the most deprived areas of Scotland.

“Our policies need to have a sharper focus – not just concentrated on postcode, but also focused on communities who experience disadvantage because of who they are, where they’re from, or the colour of their skin.”

The Commission has also called for action on recording and reporting of racist incidents and bullying in schools.

Mr Pringle added: “We know that half of all racial incidents reported to the police are committed by people under 20, and half of those are by people under the age of 16.

“Racist bullying damages children’s life chances, and affects their attendance and attainment. Knowing where and when incidents are happening in our schools will help everyone in the community to focus their efforts on reducing racism wherever it occurs.”

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: “It’s completely unacceptable that minority ethnic households should face any barriers to education, employment and housing.

“That is why we are leading the way across the UK, undertaking a wide range of actions to address these inequalities, and we appreciate the EHRC’s recognition of the Scottish Government’s ground-breaking approach to advancing race equality and eradicating racism through our Race Equality Framework.

“There is absolutely no place for racism in Scotland and our framework has been developed with an understanding of the need to eradicate institutional racism wherever it is found. I want all of society to pay attention to this important issue and look to what they can do to tackle racism in society.”

She also highlighted a forthcoming report from an independent advisory group on tackling hate crime and an updated anti-bullying strategy due to be published later this year.

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