Memorandum by Dr Mohammed Ali OBE (GRI
This note is based on my personal experience
of working with ethnic minority communities in general and South
Asian communities in particular since 1983.
The government's regenerations initiatives have
not been effective, as far as large sections of around one million
British Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are concerned and
may even have contributed to the disproportionate high levels
of poverty and disadvantage that exist in these groups compared
with other minority communities in the UK. Note that the population
of these communities is expected to rise significantly over the
next two decades, when it will have more than doubled to what
it was in 1998.
Over the years the poverty levels amongst people
of Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds have increased dramatically.
According to the Social Exclusion Unit report, these communities
suffer disproportionately high levels of poverty and disadvantage.
Whilst 28 per cent of the general population lives in households
where the income is less than half the national average, for African-Caribbean
and Indians this is 40 per cent but for the Pakistani and Bangladeshi
it is 80 per cent! A situation that must be halted and reversed
if we are to stop the recurrence of 2000 disturbances in northern
towns and cities where they are concentrated. The young age structure
of these groups presents an opportunity to address the skill shortages
and inward investment in the areas affected by declining manufacturing
Most of the ethnic minority population of the
UK lives in inner-city wards suffering from disadvantage: 70 per
cent live in 88 local authority areas, which are the beneficiaries
of the government's neighbourhood regeneration grants. The majority
of Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities also live in these areas.
It is generally acknowledged that all communities
in deprived areas suffer from poverty and disadvantage, hence
the grants, and that black and Asian people suffer much more due
to additional factors of racial, cultural and religious discrimination.
The aspiration that area based intervention will benefit all communities
leading to an improved quality of life for everyone. What is not
appreciated is the fact that there are huge social and economic
diversities within and between minority ethnic communities; perhaps
unwittingly, I believe, some regeneration initiatives may be contributing
to these predicaments.
There is a feeling that socio-economic position
of minority ethnic groups and the population living in inner-city
areas has improved somewhat over the years as a result of regeneration
schemes. However, British Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities
have not benefited to the same extent from millions or even billions
of pounds of regeneration investment as is evident from their
poverty levels compared with other communities.
All minority groups share some or all of following
characteristics. However, British Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities
are affected to a much greater extent by these factors and are
responsible for the continuation of decline in these communities:
In general ethnic minorities are
twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts with
same backgrounds; however, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are four
times as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts!
A significant increase in number
of people involved in regeneration partnerships has been achieved
but with little impact in the delivery or management of regeneration
Almost no involvement in senior management
in delivering regeneration schemes or to research and consultancies
associated with these programmes.
Hardly any representation in senior
jobs in the public, private and the mainstream voluntary sectors.
A simple audit of senior management in the local authorities will
reveal a social and economic exclusion if these groups. Economic
integration starts from the work place!
High levels of graduate unemployment.
Lower economic activity amongst women,
although there are pleasant signs that this is increasing amongst
the younger population as is expected.
Significantly lower than average
education achievement levels amongst Bangladeshi and Pakistani
Higher levels of stay on rate in
schools but coming out with poor higher level qualifications contributing
to high unemployment levels.
Little take up of good quality training
schemes at school leaving age.
Concentrated in narrow, poorly paid
and some declining sector of the small business economy (small
retail shops, takeaways and taxis).
Very few successful role models from
their communities to look up to.
A strong perception of religious
discrimination based on the fact that almost all of them are Muslims.
International issues and the media coverage have a very serious
impact creating a strong feeling of apathy.
Being used by mainstream institutions,
as a backdrop to the funding proposal, to leverage resources and
then abandoning them.
Lack of representation in many sectors
of the economy eg the media, construction.
Very poorly developed and resourced
community and voluntary sector to address the needs of their local
In conclusion I would recommend that the regeneration
initiatives address the root causes of the current situation affecting
British and Pakistani communities living in deprived neighbourhood
areas. The various regeneration initiatives must understand the
community dynamics and the diversities that exist within and between
different minority ethnic groups in order to address these issues.
QED TO ADDRESS
QED was set up in 1990 and aims to improve the
social, educational and economic circumstances of disadvantaged
South Asian communities in the UK by:
Developing campaigns, activities and processes
that enable disadvantaged sectors of the south Asian communities
to become sufficiently competent, committed and confident to take
advantage of opportunities for advancement in all aspects of British
Training 200 south Asian parents
to play a more effective part in their children's educations and
Organising four major seminars exploring
the role of the community in education in various parts of Yorkshire,
which were attended by more than 200 delegates.
Training 80 unemployed people in
skills which will enhance their career prospects, including English
for speakers of other languages (ESOL).
Helping 30 newly arrived young adults
from overseas, who had already gained useful educational qualifications
and work experience, to become economically active in this country.
Directing more than 150 newly arrived
people to agencies more suited to meeting their particular educational
and social needs.
Helping 60 small community and voluntary
groups to meet their new technology skills needs.
Running an annual Pathways to Employment
project, which promotes non-traditional career opportunities,
for 40 sixth-form pupils and five leading local employers.
Organising a series of events promoting
non-traditional occupations to south Asian communities throughout
the country. The latest campaign focuses on the senior civil service
and recruitment melas.
Working with 10 schools and employers
to run seminars for young people on non-traditional career opportunities
in the public and private sectors.
Researching and identifying areas
where voluntary sector provision does not meet the needs of disadvantaged
groups, and then setting up new initiatives that bridge the gap.
Recent examples include the foundation of St Paul's Elderly Community
Centre and Youthquest.
Supporting the development of more
than 100 small voluntary and community groups of south Asian background
throughout the Yorkshire region in a variety of ways, through
South Asian Voluntary Organisations Network (SAVON)
Training 80 people in West Yorkshire
to play a part in local regeneration schemes.
Managing an independent charitable
trust (Pukaar Foundation) which develops the voluntary sector
infrastructure by raising funds from the south Asian communities
and also distributing mainstream funds to every sector of the
Organising campaigns to encourage
south Asian businesses to seek help from the mainstream business
support agencies. One major event is organised every year.
Encouraging south Asian businesses
to invest in training owner-managers and staff by showing successful
role models from within the communities. 20 businesses take part
Promoting economic diversification
among south Asian groups by identifying role models and encouraging
new and established businesses to follow their examples. Twenty
businesses take part in these events.
Helping to develop the skills of
individuals and organisations which provide services to meet the
needs of south Asian communities and which are run by members
of the community.
Administering Community Chest/Community
Learning Funds on behalf of the Government Office (Yorkshire).
Supporting, advising and training senior individuals
from the public, private and mainstream voluntary sectors to enable
them to understand the cultural, linguistic and religious implications
of diversity in multicultural society.
Organising cultural awareness training,
advice on recruitment and a positive action project, community
influencers' visits and perception surveys with the Bradford &
Membership of Abbey National's Bradford
Race Diversity Action Group. Organising cultural awareness training
and advice on recruitment and positive actions.
Organising cultural awareness training
for Halifax plc, Barclays Bank and managers of Yorkshire Building
Managing funds for community activities
in West Yorkshire through the Pukaar Foundation, an independent
charitable trust which focuses on those ethnic communities that
are difficult for mainstream agencies to reach, on behalf of Yorkshire
Completing a black and Asian staff
perceptions survey for Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council in
Organising cultural awareness training,
and providing community contacts and advice on positive action
schemes for the Environment Agency (North East Region).
Initiating and developing a major
national campaign promoting senior civil service employment among
south Asian communities. Since March 2000, events have been organised
in London, Huddersfield, Manchester, Bradford and Birmingham for
the Cabinet Office, Home Office, Inland Revenue and DfEE.
Organising cultural awareness training
and providing recruitment advice for the Royal Navy.
Organising cultural awareness training
and giving advice on positive action schemes for the Yorkshire
Dales National Park Authority.
Advising on an Asian drama series
to raise awareness of health issues for Bradford Health Authority.
Conducting community consultations
with more than 200 black and Asian ethnic minority groups in Yorkshire
and Humberside for the regional development agency, Yorkshire
Giving help and advice on fundraising
from south Asian groups to members of the Community Foundations
Network throughout the country.
Influencing networks at local, regional, national
and even international levels to campaign for the advancement
of disadvantaged south Asian communities.
DTI Ethnic Minority Business Forum
Community Foundation Network Executive
Community Forum, Department of Deputy
Sounding Board, Community Fund
Association of Chief Executives of
Yorkshire Forward (Regional Development
Agency for Yorkshire and the Humberside)
Learning & Skills Council (West
Learning & Skills Council (Humberside)
OBJECTIVE 2 Programme Monitoring
Yorkshire & Humberside Diversity
The Regional Forum for Yorkshire
& Humber (voluntary sector)
Y&H Funding Advice Workers Network
Yorkshire Water Community Trust
Yorkshire Young People's Enterprise
Diversity Practitioners Forum (West
West Yorkshire Charities Information
Abbey National Diversity Action Group
Bradford & Bingley Diversity
Bradford NHS Hospitals Trust Employment
Department of Health Asian Drama
Bradford Common Purpose Forum
Building Communities Partnership