Cutting ethnic-minority unemployment to be key Labour goal in a third term

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A crackdown on unemployment among Britain's ethnic minority communities will be a goal of Labour's third term as ministers prepare to launch new targets to get more black people into work.

A crackdown on unemployment among Britain's ethnic minority communities will be a goal of Labour's third term as ministers prepare to launch new targets to get more black people into work.

Ministers say it is "unacceptable" that efforts to get more ethnic minorities into jobs since 1997 have failed.

Jane Kennedy, the Employment Minister, will today announce a new government target to ensure that ethnic minority unemployment falls to the level of the white population within 10 years.

Ms Kennedy, who chairs the cross-government Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force, told The Independent ministers were "disappointed" the Government had failed to close the gap in its first two terms, a situation which was "unacceptable." She has set up task forces in areas with large ethnic minority communities, including Brent in north London and Bradford.

The pilot programmes will use personal interviews to help people find jobs as well as talking to businesses to encourage them to broaden their employment policies. Ms Kennedy said: "If you are looking for our third-term agenda, it is about acknowledging that what we have done so far has been a success and moving on to build on that success by making it plain that we want everyone to share in that success and economic prosperity that the vast majority are benefiting from."

Around 58 per cent of ethnic minorities in Britain are employed compared with 75 per cent in the population as a whole.

There are big discrepancies between employment rates of different ethnic minority groups. Bangladeshis and Pakistanis have the highest unemployment rate of any group. Indians are most likely to have jobs followed by people of mixed race and Afro-Caribbean origin.

Women of Afro-Caribbean origin are more likely to be in work than black males. However, women who are first generation immigrants are also far more likely to be unemployed.

Black groups welcomed the initiative yesterday but warned against generalising about ethnic minorities. "Tackling [ethnic minority] unemployment is a complex issue. Not all communities are subject to the same obstacles," said Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote.

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