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 247.

    How about sorting out the financial ceiling and the class ceiling and that one which revolves not around what you know but who you know?

    The "it's who you know" is a big blight on many peoples lives in this country - nepotism and cronyism is rife, especially amongst small businesses.

    Nah didn't think so, just more rhetoric from a bunch of career politicians masquerading as Liberals...

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    im almost scared to state my view. how many black players are there in the premiership? yes lots. theres probably no black managers in the prem because theres none of them good enough,yet. i remember john barnes being manager at celtic i think and he got sacked. come to think of it ive never seen a black manager of foreign teams either. are they racist,too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    Perhaps the black and asian kids don't attend Russell Group universities because their families are unable to afford the tuition fees.

    Talking of football, another stunning own-goal from Clueless Clegg.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    Are we paying this man's (high) wages to come out with more absolute twaddle whilst the UK economy implodes on its self? Unbelievable!

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    What's wrong with merit??

    Have we completely given up on the idea of rewarding people based upon merit ... or have the bankers killed the idea of being paid for adding value?

    If talentless fools got the boot, there would be plenty of space for everyone with talent. Sadly both the public and private sectors are full of people that can barely do their jobs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    Lord Paul, the black Tory peer recently prosecuted for fiddling his expenses, stood as the Conservative party candidate in Cheltenham some years ago. What did all the racists do - they voted Lib-Dem to keep him out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    krokodil 235.
    I think that you are being far too generous to NIX Clegg. The Lib Dems will be extremely lucky to hold onto a couple of seats at election time which may be much sooner than expected?
    The next government has got to be a government of national unity like we had during WW2.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    SuperSage64 - My point is a very simple one: that contrary to your assertion, some successful teams do not have high levels of diversity. Some in fact have zero diversity. Some highly diverse teams are rubbish. Homogeneity can be a considerable strength, both in relatively unimportant areas like ball games and important ones like social cohesion, trust and creating functioning welfare states.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    This man will do anything and say anything if he thinks it will appeal to a section of society he thinks he will get votes from. Sheer opportunist tripe. He hasn't a principle in his body.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    There should be NO POSITIVE DISCRIMINATION whatsoever,for whatever reason and for whatever position.

    Maybe the reason there are no black managers in the premier football league is because none of them are deemed good enough.
    Has the buffon Clegg ever watched sprinters in athletics--seems there are a heck of a lot of black people represented there.
    Probably because THEY ARE GOOD AT IT!!!!!!

  • Comment number 237.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    The world cup is single tournament that happens every 4 years. It is a tournament for national teams. The Spanish were all Spanish and so were the French. Brazil was made up entirely of Brazilians too and could be regarded as the best ever national team. I don't get your point. The English premier league happens every week. The best in the world according to most.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    Clegg...the leader of a small extremist minority party going on about nonsense in the name of the Government. I will love it when your party of the weird gets battered next election.

    How many seats next time Clegg? I wager 8....

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    One of the great things about Britain today is that it is illegal to discriminate against someone because they are black. Or because they are homesexual, aged or disabled. What Mr.Clegg might like to reflect on is his role in making it legal AND socially acceptable to discriminate against people because they are poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    angry_of_garston 232.
    Very well put Sir and maybe that same football manager should live next door to Nick Clegg in his Sheffield constituency where he will be relegated to working as a road sweeper (if he's lucky!) after the next general election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    Mr Clegg Equality by quota surely means that at least one football manager should be an elderly, lesbian, half-chinese, half-eskimo, ginger haired, disabled, albino.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    1/4 of players in the Premiership are black (and most ARE English born!) because they're fitter & better at football than white kids

    what a load of rubbish you get good and bad players of both races, I wouldnt say that one race produces better players than another its very much a mixed bag

  • 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 229.

    I can remember when mangers stated that black players couldn't think enough to be anything other than strikers....

    Seems that they still feel there are only certain places for black players...

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    Peter_Sym: "1/4 of players in the Premiership are black because they're fitter & better at football than white kids"

    A racist comment, and an inaccurate one - most of the world's best footballers were and are white, but English football draws its players from working-class urban areas; the white population of these areas is falling and non-white population increasing, hence the current disparity.


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