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Education has long been a key site in the struggle for racial and ethnic equality in Britain. Seen as both a mechanism for social mobility and a means of cultural integration and reproduction, schools (as institutions) and schooling (as a practice) lie at the heart of the pursuit of a successful future for an equal multi-ethnic Britain. Nevertheless, 35 years on from the Swann report (Department of Education and Science, 1985), which argued for Education for All, and 20 years after the Future of Multi-ethnic Britain report (Parekh et al, 2000), issues of racial and ethnic inequality in our schools are as pertinent as ever. Education remains a primary arena for both the maintenance of entrenched racial stereotyping and discrimination, on the one hand, and anti-racist activism, on the other. Concerns over structural racism, low educational attainment, poor teacher expectations and stereotyping, ethnocentric curricula and high levels of school exclusions for some groups remain entrenched features of our school system. While there has been progress and change, recent years have seen the erosion of the fragile gains made in the wake of the Macpherson report (1999) and the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, which imposed a duty on schools to promote race equality. In their place we have seen a refocusing on ‘fundamental British values’, a narrowing of the curriculum, the embedding of the Prevent agenda in schools and universities, and the use of schools as internal border sites, focusing on new migrant and asylum seeking children and families (Alexander et al, 2015).

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The criminal justice system (CJS) is a core public service, which is divided into three separate systems in the United Kingdom with different powers and institutions for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (Gov.uk, 2018c).

In England and Wales the CJS is comprised of the police, Crown Prosecution Service, prisons and probation work. It is the combination of over 300 different organisations and institutions working together to deliver criminal justice. The purpose of the CJS as a whole is ‘to deliver justice for all, by convicting and punishing the guilty and helping them to stop offending while protecting the innocent’ (Gov.uk, 2018e: 1). The CJS is responsible for detecting crime and bringing perpetrators to justice by carrying out the orders of, for example, the courts, to collect fines, supervise community and custodial punishment (Clinks, 2018). In England and Wales, the Ministry of Justice oversees the Magistrates Courts, the Crown Courts, the Legal Services Commission and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). In comparison, the Home Office oversees the police and finally, the Attorney General’s Office oversees the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, and other government lawyers with the authority to prosecute cases.

Scotland and Northern Ireland, meanwhile, have devolved powers that extend to their CJS. Law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is divided into two main categories: civil and criminal law. In Scotland, the Scottish government has executive responsibility for the Scottish legal system, with functions exercised by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice (MyGov.scot, 2018a).

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Immigration policy emerges out of the state’s attempt to control the movement of people across national borders. In Britain, immigration policy has developed over the last 100 years and has often been in response to the movements of racialised groups perceived as culturally different. Thus immigration policy is often used to define who are desirable and undesirable migrants and citizens in ways which are frequently racialised. This history has been fundamentally shaped by empire, and particularly the withdrawal of rights to UK citizenship and residence in the UK for many non-white subjects as the empire ended. It is also worth noting that Ireland has been a major source of immigrants to the UK in the last century but is not subject to modern migration controls.

In this chapter, we will initially provide a brief history of immigration to the UK over the 21st century and the policies the government has used to control migration and define British citizenship. This will include consideration of the impact that these policies have on ethnic minority British citizens, as well as migrants. We will then examine contemporary immigration patterns and policies, such as the Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016 and bordering practices of detention, deportation and dispersal. The recent case of what has become known as the ‘Windrush generation’ will be considered as a window into how contemporary state immigration practices have led to depriving citizen-migrants from mainly Commonwealth countries of basic rights. Finally, we discuss the implications of Britain leaving the EU on the country’s future immigration policy.

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In 2018, the United Nations Special Rapporteur visited the United Kingdom, with a stated aim to ‘assess the situation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance’ (Achiume, 2018). In an interim statement based on preliminary observations and prior to the final report (due summer 2019), she presented a complex picture of the contemporary landscape of racism. On the one hand, the UK was praised for the development of relatively robust governmental policies and structures through which to address racial equality and racially motivated hate crime. Similarly, the intention behind the publication of 2016’s Race Disparity Audit (RDA), which outlined racial and ethnic inequalities across various domains, was praised as ‘worthy of emulation by governments all over the world’ (Achiume, 2018: 11–12). However, the statement also points to the pervasiveness of racism, xenophobia and discrimination in contemporary Britain. It identifies the ‘striking’ levels of ‘structural socio-economic exclusion of racial and ethnic communities in the UK’ in areas such as housing, employment, policing and health, as other chapters in this volume have shown. It concluded that race and ethnicity, ‘continue to determine life chances in ways that are unacceptable, and in many cases, unlawful’ (Achiume, 2018: 19). Compounding this, the rapporteur, Tendayi Achiume, lamented, ‘the absence of a comprehensive, inter-governmental policy co-authored with civil society and racial and ethnic minority communities to ensure that the grave disparities documented … are fully addressed’ (Achiume, 2018: 13).

More widely, her statement also noted an increasingly charged social and political climate in the UK.

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In February 2017 an independent UK government review highlighted the continued disadvantage that ethnic minority people face in the labour market compared to their White British counterparts (McGregor-Smith, 2017). Such disadvantage has been a notable feature of the experience of non-white workers for decades and can be seen in measurements of different dimensions of labour market outcomes such as activity, employment, self-employment and earnings. Much scholarly attention has been devoted to this issue and new data sources have become available. It is now more widely understood that differences between different non-white groups can themselves be substantial and there is a more nuanced awareness of the differences between groups. It is less clear, however, that the enhanced portfolio of evidence has been matched by successful policy action to address ethnic inequalities. While policymakers have attempted to address inequalities in a variety of ways, the continued disadvantage that we observe suggests that their efforts so far have been limited at best.

In this chapter, we provide an up-to-date snapshot of how individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK compare in their labour market behaviour to those from other groups including the White British majority. This is contextualised by a discussion of how a number of powerful external drivers have changed, and continue to change, the nature of work and labour markets. We then discuss two major policy initiatives from central government which were specifically designed to address ethnic labour market inequalities, as well as other policy developments, with a view to assessing what has or has not worked in the past and what is likely to be effective in the future.

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The growth of the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) in the past thirty years has coincided with an increase of research on inequality in the sector. This has included how ethnic minority people are involved in, represented by and experience the CCIs in Britain. The Warwick Commission (2015) found that the CCIs account for £77 billion in added value and this corresponds to 5% of the economy, with 1.7 million people employed in these industries. There are three main areas that we concentrate on in this chapter and these relate to the concepts of cultural production, cultural consumption and cultural representation, as well as policy responses to ethnic inequalities in the industry. These three areas are marked by several linked factors in relation to ethnic minority concerns, including ongoing problems with a lack of employment, differential audiences and problematic representations. While there are various problems with data in each of these three areas, such as research gaps, the inconsistency of terminology and variation of categories, this chapter will reference relevant data in what still remains a largely under-researched area, even in studies of racial inequality. This is of concern because of the significant role that the field of cultural production plays in shaping everyday society and culture, how ethnic minority people see themselves and are seen by others and in how the nation, literally, narrates itself. The field of cultural production and representation, therefore, has real social effects.

In the first section of this chapter, we consider matters of cultural production where we review what the census data tell us.

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On 14 June 2017 fire took hold of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in central London. Seventy-two people were killed. Of these, the vast majority were ethnic minorities, and many were international migrants. The fire in this public housing block was so devastating because of substandard building practices combined with the failure of the landlord, the local government Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, to take heed of residents’ concerns. The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire brings ethnic inequalities in housing in the UK into stark relief: why were ethnic minorities so disproportionately affected?

Only a partial answer to this question is possible because of a relative neglect of attention to ethnic minorities in housing research in recent decades. Although there is a well-established body of literature on minorities and housing in continental Europe that includes work on housing policy, housing practices and the experiences of minorities in the housing market (Musterd and Andersson, 2005; Musterd and Van Kempen, 2009; Bolt et al, 2010; Van Ham et al, 2016) comparable work is lacking in the UK (Markkanen and Harrison, 2013). Housing studies in Britain is in dire need of up-to-date research that explores how increasing diversity coupled with strains in the housing market differently affect black and minority ethnic households.

This chapter draws on existing evidence and data, which is admittedly limited, to point to ethnic differences in housing experiences in the UK and reasons for this.

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The last decade has seen revolutionary progress in political representation of ethnic minorities. Yet we are still short of an exact match between the proportion of ethnic minorities living in the UK (at the last census in 2011 which was estimated at 14%) and the percentage of ethnic minority MPs in Westminster, which at the time of writing stood at 8% (52 MPs). Although progress was very slow until the 2005 election, in the 2010 general election the numbers of minority MPs nearly doubled, and advances were made in 2015 and 2017 as well, meaning that between 2005 and 2017, the number of ethnic minority MPs more than tripled. One in ten of the MPs elected in the 2019 general election are non-white; however, all non-white MPs represent English seats. The story of how and why political representation improved is the most dynamic story to be told about race in politics. The other aspects of politics have been marred – as before – by scarce or poor-quality data. The glimpses into the other aspects of politics that are available given the scarcity of data in this area focus on persistent Labour party loyalty among minorities, their patterns of electoral participation and, last but not least, their vote in the 2016 EU referendum. The main challenges for the future remain studying the still very under-researched substantive representation, and working towards equal opportunity in politics, particularly issues around candidate selection and voter registration.

Historically, Britain has lacked ethnic diversity in Westminster (Saggar and Geddes, 2000; Bird et al, 2010).

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State of the Nation

Available Open Access under CC-BY-NC licence. 50 years after the establishment of the Runnymede Trust and the Race Relations Act of 1968 which sought to end discrimination in public life, this accessible book provides commentary by some of the UK’s foremost scholars of race and ethnicity on data relating to a wide range of sectors of society, including employment, health, education, criminal justice, housing and representation in the arts and media.

It explores what progress has been made, identifies those areas where inequalities remain stubbornly resistant to change, and asks how our thinking around race and ethnicity has changed in an era of Islamophobia, Brexit and an increasingly diverse population.

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In order to assess the different social, economic, health and wellbeing outcomes across different ethnic minority groups living in Britain, we need to collect and analyse data based on measures of identity, which can expose unequal experiences and the effects of discrimination. As discussed in the introductory chapter, these identity categories are not straightforward and reflect political choices made in particular historical contexts. The categories used by the state on which these data are based have shifted over time, and people’s identification with them will also change. This chapter will introduce the nature of ethnic diversity in the UK, giving an overview of the size and location of ethnic groups in the UK and how they have changed over time. It will consider the ways in which Britain’s history as a global empire and related migration have shaped the categories we use today, which, in turn, determined the nature of ethnic diversity in the UK. The chapter will examine historic migration flows and current ethnic groups in the UK, the age structures of different ethnic groups, which reflect patterns and periods of migration as well as fertility and mortality patterns. Finally, it will consider the ways in which processes of migration have produced distinct residential patterns for different ethnic groups and how these are changing.

The demographic composition of Britain’s ethnic minority populations continues to be significantly shaped by Britain’s past imperial history and colonialism in different parts of the world, subsequent decolonisation, conflict and globalisation which have determined who, where and when immigrants settled in Britain

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