Scottish government unveils race equality plan

Angela Constance

Increasing employment opportunities for minority ethnic communities is part of a range of actions set out by Equalities Secretary Angela Constance aimed at advancing race equality.

The Race Equality Action Plan contains more than 120 actions spanning employment, education, health, housing, poverty, community cohesion and safety for all minority ethnic communities in Scotland.

This includes the promotion of the Workplace Equality Fund – £500,000 for groups which help people overcome employment barriers – and tailored employment support for refugees and asylum seekers, backed by £2.6 million from the Equality Fund.

In addition, the plan establishes a ministerial working group to be chaired by Ms Constance to drive forward improvements for Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller community.

Ms Constance said: “This government believes people from different backgrounds enrich Scotland socially, culturally and economically and we want to remove the barriers preventing people from minority ethnic communities realising their true potential.

“We know that minority ethnic communities are disproportionately affected by poverty and unemployment despite having the highest levels of educational attainment and other barriers in health and housing need to be addressed.”

She added: “Over the years there have been a whole host of race equality initiatives, inquiries, research reports and reviews. And yet what we see today is that among the BME communities poverty is deeper, overcrowding worse and unemployment higher.

“My report, Addressing Race Inequality in Scotland – The Way Forward, is not an end in itself. For my report to make a real difference there needs to be a commitment to create real change for people on the ground. Those who are directly affected by racial discrimination and lack of opportunity require action from politicians and policy makers to show that they a