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EHRC: Background

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provided Panorama with the following background information on their work in response to Undercover: Hate on the Doorstep.

Why Britain is the best place to live in Europe if you are not white.

MORI polling undertaken by the Commission in January this year shows the majority of British people are increasingly at ease with racial diversity. Seventy percent of people said they would be comfortable for their children to choose a partner of a different race or faith, up from just 22% questioned in a similar poll seven years ago.

About half (49%) of the general public are optimistic Britain will be a more tolerant society in ten years time. This figure increases for members of ethnic minorities with 58% optimistic about the future.

The findings also show that 78% of ethnic minority people regularly mix socially with people from a different ethnic background and two thirds of people regularly welcome friends from other ethnic backgrounds into their own homes.

A separate MORI poll, conducted for the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in 2007, asked respondents if they would prefer to live in an all white area. 44% in Greece agreed with that statement, 42% in Belgium, 39% in Portugal and 37% in Denmark. In comparison, 25% of Britons said they would prefer to live in an all white area.

The comments made by Trevor Phillips highlighted the changes in attitudes towards racism in the ten years since the Macpherson Inquiry - "If we are considering the attitudes of the majority to the minority, today Britain is by far - and I mean by far - the best place in Europe to live if you are not white." - It refers specifically to a change in public attitudes, NOT to life chances and opportunities. The speech pointed out that, whilst attitudes were changing, achievements in the fields of employment, education and equal opportunities, had not caught up.

That Commission continues to use measures including legal action, formal inquiries and funding to tackle the racism issue.

Funding programme

The Commission's Strategic Funding Programme helps hundreds of thousands of people from all communities across the UK by supporting grassroots organisations.

Our funding programme has £10m to distribute. This year, we received over 2,100 applications, worth in excess of £500m. Inevitably tough decisions had to be taken about the allocation of funds, not least ensuring we deliver value for public money.

Unsuccessful applicants were sent information helping them identify and secure alternative sources of funding - including a list of nine other possible funding sources.

Through its 2008/9 interim grants programme, the Commission distributed £4.5m to organisations delivering race-related work. This is more than the £4m given on an annual basis by the Commission for Racial Equality.

SARI's application was rejected on three different points, including insufficient explanation as to how proposed activities would be delivered. Although SARI was not successful with its application, a significant number of other race organisations and projects delivering race-related work across the UK have gone through to the next stage. Within the South West region in which SARI operates, 11 out of the 15 applicants will deliver work that has a race dimension.

Priority given to race within the Commission

It is simply not true to claim that the Commission is not prioritising work on race issues. Nearly half of all the Commission's 450 compliance/pre-enforcement actions undertaken since October 2007 relate to race. We have also brought seven formal enforcement actions relating to race.

Equality and Human Rights Commission
Monday, 19 October 2009, 06:30 GMT |  Panorama

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