Nick Clegg targets racial 'ceiling' in banks and sport


Nick Clegg: "How many black managers are there in the Premier League? Zero"

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Nick Clegg says banks and football clubs must do more to end the "racial ceiling" and offer equal opportunities to the UK's ethnic minorities.

Delivering the Scarman lecture 30 years after the Brixton riots, the Deputy PM said the private sector had to do more.

Mr Clegg said greater equality had been achieved in the public sector under Labour, but "it was not enough".

He also said that his party, the Lib Dems - who have no MPs from an ethnic minority - had to do more.

Mr Clegg said that while a "great deal" had been achieved in the years since the riots there is still a "very, very long way to go" before the "war on inequality" can be won.

"The real lesson from the last 30 years is it is not enough for a society to reject bigotry," he said.

"Real equality is not just the absence of prejudice. It is the existence of fairness and opportunity too."

Start Quote

"How many black managers are there in the Premier League? Zero. ”

End Quote Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister

While the state had been an "important engine for greater race equality" through legislation to outlaw racist practices, the private sector had failed to go nearly so far.

"The state has been used to hide the sins of the market, and the veil is now being lifted," he said.

He targeted banks, pointing out that they have been "bailed out by the British people" and "have just as much responsibility as everyone else, arguably more responsibility, to help Britain build a strong and dynamic economy. Unleashing black and ethnic minority talent is their duty too".

"Why is it that members of some of our ethnic communities want to start their own businesses, but their success doesn't match their ambitions?" he said.

"We know, for example, that 35% of individuals from black African origin say they want to start a business, but only 6% actually do. Are they having problems accessing the loans they need?

"Past evidence shows that firms owned by individuals of black African origin have been four times more likely than so-called 'white firms' to be denied loans outright. And that Bangladeshi, Pakistani, black Caribbean and black African-owned businesses have been subject to higher interest rates than white and Indian-owned enterprises. Anecdotally, we hear this is a problem time and time again."

Sepp Blatter

The business minister Andrew Stunell is to bring together finance and start-up business experts to look at the barriers preventing black and ethnic minority groups from accessing loans.

"We have to work out what is going wrong, and then we have to fix it," says Mr Clegg.

Referring to the most prestigious UK universities he said "why are there over 400 more young black British men in prison than at Russell Group universities?"

On football he said it was wrong that only two of the 92 league clubs have a black boss. He also joined in the criticism of FIFA boss Sepp Blatter accusing him of "trivialising" racism.

"In football, fans adore their heroes for their talent and character, whether they are black or white," he says.

"And when Sepp Blatter dares trivialise racism on the pitch, his comments are rightly met with public outcry.

"But how many black managers are there in the Premier League? Zero.

"And in the top four divisions? There are just two, despite the fact a quarter of all players are black.

"If you are a white player you have a one in fifty chance of moving into management. If you are a black player? One in five hundred."

Responding the the speech shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said: "Nick Clegg is lecturing others before he has got his own house in order. His party has not a single BME (black or minority ethnic) MP or minister, which is lamentable in 2011.

Mr Umunna said Labour had taken action to "enshrine fairness" with the equality act and set up the Ethnic Minority Business Task Force to look at barriers to setting up businesses, including getting access to finance.

He said that Mr Clegg was not taking forward the task force's recommendations, adding: "Although he says more needs to be done, he's been in government for 18 months and has done little."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    Positive Discrimination is a policy doomed to failure. When one follows the line of discriminating against one group to further the interests of another you are surely shooting yourself in the foot are you not?

    Equality of opportunity yes - Equality of outcome certainly not! Not everyone is equal. I would want the best person for the job REGARDLESS of sex, skin colour etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Well done Deputy PM! The ship is sinking but at least you have a plan to rearrange the deckchairs on the upper deck. I wish Nick would practice what he preaches and step aside in favour of candidate from an ethnic minority. That would be an initiative I would support. BTW in Scotland, a horsefly is commonly known as a Clegg

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    In work equality is a myth people are not equal each of us contributes differently some more some less. But your quality should not be judged on your skin colour or religion or family background. It should be judged on a how rounded a person you are and what you can bring to the party of life

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    Mr Clegg should know when its best to keep schtum.
    We have people of many backgrounds in all stratas of life. What this sort of story has hints of 'positive descrimination' etc. As a white English male I assure Clegg that a huge % of whites want to start a business but are prevented by lack of finance. A huge % want to be in politics but can't get in. What is +ve for one is -ve for another.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Equality has to be earned, not dished out by government as a 'right'. That's why it will always exist, and always should, otherwise there's no incentive for people to improve their situation. If you persuade someone that 'society' has let them down they then expect 'society' to give them preferential treatment. That's been happening under successive governments, none of which understand this.


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