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Lord Avebury: Can the noble Lord say whether it might be possible to divert the money saved by the withdrawal of the Global Fund from Burma and to
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allocate the same amount of money to the relief of AIDS, malaria and TB and to the victims of those diseases in the camps?
Lord Triesman: I am not in a position to answer for DfID but I will take that question to it and ensure that it is considered fully.
It is true that we discourage trade. Our advice is consistent and seems to be having some impact, as the Prime Minister said in another place on 25 June. British American Tobacco withdrew last year and there have been no significant business investments since. I believe that that is absolutely right. I also believe that, as during the apartheid regime, there is a responsibility on all of us as individuals to consider whether we want to buy products that come through those kinds of channels. I am not trying to strike a moral postureprobably almost everyone in this room will have taken such a stance during that regime. It is certainly available to us now. It was not prompted by government in any way at that time. It was taken because people believed that it was the right thing to do.
We really are committed to helping to alleviate the suffering of the Burmese people and to helping Burma achieve national reconciliation, a transition to democracy and full respect for human rights. I do not doubt the difficulties we face in doing it or some of the international obstacles we will need to overcome if we are to be successful. We must be persistent and work with those who will work with us. The United States is showing a very important lead in all of this. A debate such as this adds to the effort as well. If it does nothing else, it will tell the Burmese Government that while we are prepared to have a dialogue if a dialogue is possible, we are absolutely struck by the abhorrence of the way in which they conduct themselves.
Baroness Falkner of Margravine rose to ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the segregation of communities, and to enhance better community relations.
The noble Baroness said: This is a Cinderella subject, and not one greeted with much enthusiasm outside the circles of the usual suspects, many of whom are here at short notice, so let me say from the outset that I am most grateful to Committee Members who are here.
This is not a new debate: we have been here before. In looking up published research on the segregation of communities, I came across arguments around this subject in its current form going back to the 1970s and earlier. What is surprising is the persistence of the topicjust as it seems to recede from the research agenda, events take place which bring it back to the forefront. So, some 50 years after non-white immigration started to change the face of British cities,
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and several changes of government later, one gets the impression that while much has changed, not so much has in fact, changed.
Why does segregation matter? Many would argue in the case of voluntary segregation that choosing a lifestyle which might include very little interaction with anyone dissimilar to oneself is what choice is ultimately about. In the case of involuntary segregation, where people's practical choices are rather limited, there could still be an argument that segregation of itself is not such a social ill, and that corresponding other factors need to be addressed. In the debate today I hope to suggest that in an increasingly globalised world, and in a country which is on an upward trajectory in hosting new immigrant populations, it is of fundamental importance that we get integration right. I should also say that, which ever side of the debate you might be on, most of us would agree with Trevor Phillips and the CRE that there is no silver bullet, and that we probably need to concentrate on a mix of equality, participation and interaction, recognising that none of them alone will do it. But first, a word about immigrants, from one who has been an immigrant herself.
In the past, settled immigrants have come in numbers from the old and new Commonwealths. While those from the new Commonwealth have been racially different, they have shared historical ties with Britain and therefore share the language, legal traditions and political cultures, and to some extent, even religion. We are now facing a situation where, as the IPPR study Beyond Black and White shows, new immigrantssince 1990are different. Although some of them may be white, if they come from the regions of the former Soviet Union or Latin America, they will be unlikely to share other characteristics. Once race is disregarded, an Albanian will have less in common with someone indigenous to East Anglia than an Indian will have with someone from Ipswich. Therefore, the measures that public policy needs to concentrate on will also need to change over time.
In this newly recast debate on multiculturalism, I want to concentrate primarily on the issue of segregation and why it matters. Studies have been wheeled out across the board recently. On the whole, the literature which has been produced since the 2001 population census confirms what we have known for some timethat spatial and educational segregation is still with us. The figures are disturbing in that in high segregation areas such as Oldham, Bradford, or Blackburn and, to a lesser extent, in Slough, parts of Manchester and Birmingham, the relationship between segregation in neighbourhoodswhich comprise electoral wardsand secondary schools is evident. But it appears that segregation in schools is now overtaking that of spatial segregation for children who happen to be of Caribbean, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sikh heritage. In plain English, that means that successive generations are not coming together through education, but are being educated in silos. In cases such as these, while equality might theoretically exist,
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participation and interaction will not take place during the critical years which determine outcomes and life chances.
In addition to geography and education, it appears in recent literature that a further phenomenon is also at play. This is highlighted in a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study in collaboration with the University of Essex which has just been published. Called Migration and social mobility: the life chances of Britain's minority ethnic communities, the study looks at data from a longitudinal study of two cohorts in 1971 and 1981, and analyses their social mobility based on data from the 2001 census. Data from the 2001 census has particular relevance as it covered the issue of religious identity for the first time.
The study confirms that patterns of intergenerational social mobility vary by ethnic group, and looks at the impact of the "ethnic penalty" in explaining such differences. It additionally looks at whether patterns of intergenerational mobility vary by religious affiliation, to see whether that factor affects outcomes.
In summaryand in summarising, I admit that I will do no justice to the work of the authorthe study finds that there is evidence to show that there is indeed a greater openness of society in relation to ethnic difference. This is demonstrated by the change in social class of children from migrant families, which shows that some ethnic groups have done better than others. The Indian success story is well known, and the class privilege, where it existed, has been maintained across generations, even among ethnic minorities.
But, disturbingly, the study also shows that ethnicity matters differently across different groups, and that Caribbeans and Pakistanis are more disadvantaged due to racial inequality than other non-white groups. It goes on to show the impact of religion, and particularly the penalty of being a Muslim. So for Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin cohorts, not only did class origins not work for them, neither did educational qualification. In other words, the "ethnic penalty" was compounded by the "Islam penalty".
In a secular framework, one would expect faith to be a matter for the private sphere. This is not to say that there would be no duty on the state to ensure legal equality and to enforce human rights norms relating to the freedoms to practice one's faith. It is just that one would not expect to find, as the evidence now suggests, that discrimination of a new kind would emerge as respects one particular faith.
This brings me to the consideration of diversity and culture within the debate on segregation. I was hoping that I could make this speech without mentioning multi-culturalism, not least because of the presence of the noble Lord, Lord Parekh, and his knowledge of these issues. But I will venture to say that setting academic research aside, we know that something is going wrong. Or at least we know that something is not quite right when we see trends moving in the wrong direction. The CRE commissioned surveys in 2004 and 2005 on the themes of immigration and integration. Key findings on "friendship circles" showed that there
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has been a reduction of social mixing among all groups. So in 2005 the number of non-white Britons whose friends are all, or mainly, white, went down from 47 per cent to 37 per cent. However, white Britons remain consistent in knowing mainly white peoplethe figure was 94 per cent in 2004 and 95 per cent in 2005.
We also know that it cannot be good for community relations when education is becoming more, not less, segregated. I turn here to faith schools. My concern with the Government's commitment to increasing funding for faith schools is their differing impact on different communities. So I understand the Government's duty to be even-handed across communities and to pledge to increase its funding for more Muslim schools, which I broadly welcome. However, where communities are segregated by gender as well as by other criteria, as Muslim schools are, then the segregation is made more acute. So where a Muslim girl goes to a Muslim secondary school and lives her life in segregated circumstances in all other areas, it is entirely possible that she will find herself married in her late teenage years without ever having encountered relationships with males outside her immediate family. What life skills will she have developed in relation to the other sex when she goes out to work, in terms of her own parenthood when she bears children or in accessing mixed public services?
The report of the Community Cohesion Review Teamor the Cantle report, as we usually call itwas one of the best reviews of how communities see their problems. It detailed how some of the aspects of educational segregation could be ameliorated. Among these were the recommendations that schools should be twinned with others to compensate for lack of contact with other cultures in the school. The Minister's colleague in the other place, Margaret Hodge, the Member for Barking, has also expressed ideas along the lines of ensuring that attendance by a certain number of children outside the denomination should become a requirement for faith schools. Can the Minister tell us to what extent these recommendations are informing the Government's policy?
We also know that something is not working because of the Birmingham-style disturbances of a few months ago. They had echoes of the severe public order disturbances of Oldham and Burnley, which led to the Cantle review of 2001. Prior to that, we had the report of the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, on the Bradford disturbances. All of those expert groups have seen segregation and alienation between communities as a factor. Although we used to interpret community cohesion as something socio-economic, there is now a consensus that it is broader and must consider things in the round, so education, employment poverty, social inequality and cultural diversity all play a part. Public policy must therefore be more than a joined-up approach to solving a problem here and now, it must be an oncoming processes.
In considering disadvantaged and disaffected communities, one recognises that people's identities are multifaceted and so are needs. That applies as
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much to white as to non-white people, so an approach that seems sometimes to problematise groups as particularly deserving must become colour-blind and recognise that disadvantage is occurring to white as well as non-white people. The imperative is on us to share values, challenges and opportunities, but that cannot happen without a sense of trust in common institutions that are to serve the interests of all sections of society.
Much attention has been focused on community leaders and there is little doubt that they, the people on the ground, have done good work in defusing potential crises. However, there is also a valid question about community voice. Where communities are most isolated in terms of interaction with others, the fact of voicewhether it takes the form of visible representation in electoral office, which is still marginal, or whether it comes through the public service providers being somewhat representative of the communities they servebecomes important. If we consider London, for example, the Met is conscious of the need to build trust among Muslims. Hence, recruitment programmes are aimed at them. Have other police forces and key agencies such as local authorities, health authorities and regeneration agencies taken on board the need to recruit and promote among the communities they serve?
In conclusion, I reiterate the need for shared values. Although the Government are making fledgling steps towards identifying what factors people might consider to occupy the common ground, we are far from reaching consensus. We need a dialogue within and between the mainstream and minority communities in an attempt to define what being a Briton means. From these Benches, we would welcome moves towards such a dialogue.
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