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 267.

    Nik Clegg clime back in the cupboard were Camron keeps you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    253 SuperSage - oh dear, it's not all about the Nazis and WW2 you know (ever hear of Godwin's Law?). In any case, the Nazis comprised diverse Prussians, Bavarians, Austrians, Swabians, blah blah - how could they lose, with all that wonderful diversity?

    The degree of "diversity" in the Spanish team was minimal - essentially Castilians and Catalans, who are hardly worlds apart in any case.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    Positive discrimination of any type is wrong. Candidates for any position should be judged on their ability to to the job, not on their colour, sex, religion or whatever. The country has serious economic problems and all Mr Clegg can come up with is this. God help us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    "226 PalusKeg
    However, statistics do show black pupils for whatever reason are getting less qualifications than white pupils"

    Lies, damn lies and statistics, if we look at a 'colour blind' assessment of school figures, we will actually discover that 'poor people' get fewer qualifications than 'rich people' but because there are less 'rich black people', their kids would appear to underperform

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    In addition to my previous comment on university as a leveller, perhaps half of the problem is the spreading of this misinformation about prospects due to race/ethnicity.

    If you tell people often enough that they have no chance, they believe it. Stop spreading this rubbish about university being available only to those who can afford it, and maybe you'd get more of a balance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    Very easy for the likes of Nick Clegg to spout off about what amounts to positive discrimination but for many of us,it does not hold water.I believe that people should be chosen on merit NOT on sex or skin colour/race or creed.In my area for example,the Labour party have decided on a woman only list for the next election,well this is one vote they will not get because of this discrimination.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.


    Perhaps the black and asian kids don't attend Russell Group universities because their families are unable to afford the tuition fees.
    What tuition fees? Nobody pays a penny until they graduate, and haven't for years. 15k was the threshold when I went, now it's 21k for repayments. Complete ignorance; university is the greatest leveller around.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    My local high street has a large number of restaurants that provide cuisine from all over the world. None of the staff are white Anglo Saxon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    as Freddy Mercury once said, 'Talent will out, my dear' and he was indian

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    Racial ceiling? I'd settle for an annual salary of 20% of Rio Ferdinand's weekly wage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    I was discriminated against for not being 'normal', it's a fact of life. If I hadn't had that, I would have a good degree from a good university. More or less. It's important to realise that we can't change human nature - no amount of government-led legislation can change the way people interact and discriminate when there's no enforcement around. Racism has been mishandled in this country...

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.


    I hope your right! But people in Devon and Sussex will always vote yellow. So they will keep a few.

    Britain needs a new party, one that reflects the public. Not any of the ones we have now. A party of national unity.

    We can but dream.

    Still, Clegg finished, Red chance, wrong milliband. Cameron....possibly if he tackles nonsense like this story and puts the damn LD in their place

  • 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 254.

    My wife works for the local council. There are four members of her team - one is black. This guy regularly falls asleep at his desk in the afternoon safely in the knowledge that his position there will never be challenged because his line managers are scared to take action for fear of being labelled a racist. How on earth has it come to this!

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    Your incestuous thinking is very evident. Homogeny at its best was defeated by diversity in WW2. The Nazis looked invincible right until they came up against the Allied mongrel.

    The spanish football team respresented a cross section of a diverse spanish society. Basques to Catalan to Moorish influences

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    Paulus Keg, re post 226, it is also a concrete fact that white working males are under performing everybody except Irish traveller children in schools. Asian and black african children perform better than white working class males in school, so what should be done about it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    I am sick to the back teeth of all this racial bias. People from ethnic minorities have far more rights than non-ethnics.
    For example they can be guaranteed a job interview, form their own associations (for example The Black Police Officers Ass). If a similar example was proposed by which only white people were allowed there would be uproar.
    These rules only encourage racism and division.

  • 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 249.

    How can anyone honestly believe that equality has to be earned? Unbelievable. Equality is a basic human right, as is respect for others.

  • 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


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