English the victims of racism in Wales

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Anti-racism campaigners in Wales have warned of an upsurge in discrimination against an ethnic minority in the Valleys: the English.

Anti-racism campaigners in Wales have warned of an upsurge in discrimination against an ethnic minority in the Valleys: the English.

Field workers around Swansea fear that a traditional rivalry between the Welsh and the English is turning into institutional anti-Englishness.

Naz Malik, chairman of the Swansea Bay Racial Equality Council, said English people were making more complaints about discrimination than more usual victims of prejudice such as Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Afro-Caribbeans.

An annual report released by the council this week highlighted the Swansea bar, Yates's Wine Lodge, which offered free beer every time a foreign team scored against the England team during Euro 2000.

The chain has insisted that the promotion was lighthearted and not intended to cause offence but it drew six complaints from English customers, and even a call from Melbourne in Australia.

Staff at the council have also received complaints from three officials at a South Wales local authority who felt their careers were being held back because they could not speak Welsh. Mr Malik said he believes the complaints, including two cases of alleged discrimination at BBC Wales, fit into a pattern that needs to be tackled if antiEnglish feeling is not to become a permanent race issue.

He said: "Racism can be as much about white people as any other ethnic grouping and it is devastating for those who are targeted. Devolution has brought a definite increase in anti-English behaviour, which needs to be recognised and stamped out immediately."

He added: "We have received approaches from three women who work for a localauthority and felt they were being prevented from progressing in their jobs because they didn't speak Welsh. Where it is advantageous for a council officer to speak Welsh, then that must be presented as a training need and not an excuse to discriminate."

A spokeswoman for BBC Wales confirmed it was investigating allegations of discrimination by two journalists but said no conclusions had been reached.

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