Labour ministers visit Brent today to relaunch policy aiming to help black and minority ethnic young people
- Credit: Archant
Labour ministers visited the borough today to relaunch a policy it claims will improve the lives of black and minority ethnic (BAME) residents.
The party claims their new scheme (Compulsory Jobs Guarantee) will tackle the 49 per cent increase in unemployment among BAME young people aged 18-24, as revealed today by the Office of National Statistics.
Rachel Reeves MP, shadow work and pensions secretary, Gloria De Piero MP, shadow equalities minister, and Sadiq Khan MP, shadow justice secretary and London minister ,were at the Roundwood Youth Centre, in Longstone Avenue, Harlesden.
The politicians were joined by Dawn Butler, Labour candidate for Brent Central, where they took part in round table discussions with pupils from Newman Catholic College in Harlesden Road, Harlesden, about the key obstacles in their lives which will become part of their manifesto to help young people.
The Labour Party has relaunched its BAME manifesto, first rolled out in 2010, to fight racial prejudice, and it also promises to guarantee young people aged 18 to 24, who have been looking for work for more than a year, a six month, 25 hour a week paid starter job.
Ms Reeves said: “There’s been a 49 per cent increase in BAME unemployment in the last five years while employment levels over all have been falling. We need to ensure young people are given a chance. There is so much talent and potential out there, we are not going to succeed as a country unless all these people succeed.”
She added businesses would be commissioned to provide work, which will be paid for through repeating the tax on bankers’ bonuses and restricting pensions tax relief.
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Mr Khan said he hoped the BAME manifesto would address important racial policies, adding: “We need policies to address that young black men are stop and search, address the fact that the judiciary is still not diverse enough, a policy there are too few black and Asian faces in board rooms and Parliament.”
The rise in BAME unemployment was due to several factors including the government’s Work Programme, which are too ‘centrally focused’ he said. He added that the removal of the race impact assessments, cuts to funding that had disproportionally affected the community, and the low number of black role models for young people to aspire are also having adverse impacts on the young.
Cllr Joshua Murray, one of the youngest councillors in Brent who represents the Labour ward of Northwick Park, said schools could do more to help.
“Schools let the black and minority students down,” he said.
“They are not supportive enough as young people are still having to deal with the stigma they are faced with.”
Kevin Pogdanowicz, 14, a student from Newman Catholic College, said: “They (Labour) are going to do something about us pursuing our dreams.
“They have got to make sure they fulfil what they are telling us.”