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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Racial ghettos 'may appear in UK'
Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips says Britons are becoming more divided without noticing
Britain's races are becoming more segregated and some areas may turn into "fully-fledged ghettos", Britain's race equality chief is warning.

"We are sleepwalking our way to segregation," Commission for Racial Equality head Trevor Phillips will say in a speech.

He warns of divisions similar to those seen in hurricane-hit New Orleans.

Muslim News editor Ahmed Versi said rather than racial, the UK's problem was inequality between rich and poor.

Mr Phillips will say in the speech on Thursday that schools are becoming more exclusive and some universities are becoming "colour-coded", according to extracts in the Sunday Times.

'Bleak' message

He will voice his fears of a "New Orleans-style Britain of passively coexisting ethnic and religious communities, eyeing each other over the fences of our differences".

To be able to move out you have to be able to afford housing and education in other areas
Ahmed Versi
Muslim News

The newspaper says he will suggest new measures to help to encourage integration - which could include forcing "white" schools to take larger numbers of ethnic minorities.

He will admit that his message is "bleak", but sees Hurricane Katrina as a warning to Britain to avoid complacently believing that it has an integrated society.

"The fact is we are a society which, almost without noticing it, is becoming more divided by race and religion," he will tell Manchester Council for Community Relations.

Mr Versi accepted there were high concentrations of ethnic minorities in poor areas, but said the reasons were economic and could be alleviated by greater government investment.

Housing costs

Such poor areas still exist "because of a lack of funding in those areas by the government and very high unemployment", he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"To be able to move out you have to be able to afford housing and education in other areas," he said.

Ted Cantle, who wrote a report for the home secretary into the race riots in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley in 2001, said there was evidence that communities are becoming more divided.

"Things like parental choice in schools seem to be driving ethnic segregation in some areas. It is right to say that it has increased," he said.

Why Britain could become as segregated as New Orleans

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