Blacks, Asians will be shielded from recession: British minister

March 1st, 2009 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 1 (IANS) A senior British minister Sunday vowed to ensure that ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups are not “left behind” in the recession-hit job market.
“In the past, too many were left behind in bad times,” Works and Pensions Secretary (minister) James Purnell said.

“Ethnic minority workers suffered most in the Tory recessions. Just think of the waste of human potential. Whole communities were abandoned. Families where no one then worked for generations,” he added.

Women - particularly those in part-time work - older people and the disabled were also hit disproportionately in the recession that hit Britain in the early 1990s, when the Tory Party was in power.

Employment for ethnic minorities fell by 10 percent at the time, while the national fall was six percent.

“We still bear the scars of those decisions in so many communities and households today,” Purnell told Labour’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic conference in the city of Leicester.

“In this recession, evidence so far is that its effects are being spread across the population more evenly. But we will not take any chances,” he said.

The Independent on Sunday, which published advance extracts of the speech, said steps will include a labour market review, focused state aid and the government working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to prevent a repeat of the 1990s pattern.

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