Boris Johnson ‘can and must’ do more to tackle racial inequality, Sajid Javid says
Boris Johnson “can and must” do more to tackle racial inequality, former chancellor Sajid Javid has said.
The former cabinet minister has urged Government not to become “complacent” about tackling racism, as he warned minority groups still faced “substantial obstacles” when it came to integration and opportunity.
His comments come after thousands of Brits took part in Black Lives Matter demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd in America, with further marches planned across the country later today.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Mr Javid said Boris Johnson must take responsibility for “driving real change” because black and ethnic minority people in the UK were “still the victims of racial injustice and substantial disparities in opportunity”.
“That’s why as we enter a new chapter in our national story, we need a new agenda on race,” he said.
“As with all large scale, systemic challenges, only the Prime Minister is capable of driving real change – and I know he cares deeply.
“Just as he has chosen to take personal control of the pandemic response and Brexit, he is able to bring the same energy and determination to fighting racial injustice and delivering equal opportunity.
“If we are to ‘build back better’, tackling the injustice of racial inequality has to be part of the answer.”
And Mr Javid, who previously served as Home Secretary, said the UK still had a “greater disproportionality in the number of black people in prisons here than in the United States” as he claimed the police “still has a way to go” in tackling racism.
His comments come after a wave of criticism was aimed at ministers for failing to implement new measures to protect black and minority ethnic groups from coronavirus, after a new public health study found they were twice as likely to die from the virus than their white counterparts.
But Mr Javid said it was “imperative” more was done, adding: “It was a stark reminder that while we may be in the pandemic together, we do not share its risks equally.
“Tragically, two-thirds of the NHS and care staff who have lost their lives to the virus have been from minority backgrounds.”
He added: “It is imperative we discover why, so the government can do more to protect them.”