Local MEP, Sajjad Karim, has today warned of the inherent danger of backsliding on equality and diversity issues once Britain has left the European Union.
Mr Karim – who is Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Anti-Racism & Diversity Intergroup, as well as Chair of the Islamophobia Working Group – believes that unless the UK takes specific measures to guard against inequality and discrimination, then the country risks regressing on these very specific issues post-Brexit.
The North-West of England MEP’s warning comes in anticipation of the Government’s Race Disparity Audit, which Prime Minister May personally ordered in a further drive to tackle embedded injustices, describing it as “the most extensive review of its kind ever undertaken”.
Speaking from his constituency, Mr Karim said: “As a Brit growing up in early 70s Britain, I saw first-hand the discrimination faced by immigrants and diverse communities. Inherent attitudes and trade unions combined meant qualified individuals were not considered employable based mainly upon their race and gender.
“I also saw the UK benefit from the changes that were brought about on equality matters through legislation post-1973 and onwards, although it did take many years for the effects to work through into our society and employment.
“In a post-Brexit Britain it is essential that no backsliding takes place on such hard won rights, which underpin a successful merit-based economy and contribution recognising society.
“Already we can identify Islamophobia as a major threat to access to employment for many of our young, as well as underachievement by our white pupils from state schools.
“I am fully supportive of the Prime Minister’s initiative and I hope that it will be a positive step forward.”
The Audit found that white pupils from state schools had the lowest university entry rate in 2016, but that employment rates overall are far higher for white people (75.7 per cent) than BAME groups (63.9 per cent).
It is due for release next week.