More than 120 actions to advance equality.
Increasing employment opportunities for minority ethnic communities is part of a range of actions set out by Equalities Secretary Angela Constance to advance race equality.
The Race Equality Action Plan contains more than 120 actions spanning employment, education, health, housing, poverty, community cohesion and safety for all minority ethnic communities in Scotland.
This includes the promotion of the Workplace Equality Fund – £500,000 for groups which help people overcome employment barriers – and tailored employment support for refugees and asylum seekers, backed by £2.6 million from the Equality Fund.
In addition, the plan establishes a Ministerial Working Group to be chaired by Ms Constance to drive forward improvements for Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller community which remain one of the most marginalised in society.
Ms Constance said:
“This Government believes people from different backgrounds enrich Scotland socially, culturally and economically and we want to remove the barriers preventing people from minority ethnic communities realising their true potential.
“We know that minority ethnic communities are disproportionately affected by poverty and unemployment despite having the highest levels of educational attainment and other barriers in health and housing need to be addressed.
“Our action plan shows our leadership in this area to advance race equality but this isn’t the job of government alone and all society must play their part in removing the barriers faced by our minority ethnic communities.
“I also want to take action to improve the lives of our Gypsy/Traveller communities which is why we have established a Ministerial Working Group to drive forward the changes needed.”
The Action Plan builds on the Race Equality Framework for Scotland and is informed by the work of the Independent Race Equality Adviser, Kaliani Lyle.
“Over the years there have been a whole host of race equality initiatives, inquiries, research reports and reviews. And yet what we see today is that among the BME communities poverty is deeper, overcrowding worse and unemployment higher.
“My report, Addressing Race Inequality in Scotland – The Way Forward, is not an end in itself. For my report to make a real difference there needs to be a commitment to create real change for people on the ground. Those who are directly affected by racial discrimination and lack of opportunity require action from politicians and policy makers to show that they are serious about addressing the problems and a willingness to make the choices that can improve the life chances of our fellow citizens.
“In accepting my report in its entirety, and instructing officials to prepare an action plan to implement the 72 recommendations in the report, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities has shown leadership and determination to drive forward this work to create a fairer Scotland for people of all ethnicities. However, this is a start. Keeping race equality on the agenda, checking progress against the reality of peoples lived experience will be the true determinant of whether we are actually making a difference.”
Ms Constance launched the Race Equality Action Plan at Glasgow’s City Chambers where she met minority ethnic Modern Apprentices from various sectors, who are supported by BEMIS’ ‘Modern Apprenticeships for all’ project delivered in partnership with Skills Development Scotland.
The Scottish Government has made several commitments to implement the plan, including holding an annual Race Equality Summit to report on progress to date, and holding a summit on minority ethnic employment and enterprise in 2018. A Programme Board will be established to oversee the implementation with membership drawn from senior levels across the Scottish Government.
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