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Racial Harassment

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to reduce racial discrimination in the workplace. (253125)

The Department leads on the development and implementation of the cross-Government strategy for race equality and community cohesion Improving Opportunity Strengthening Society. We hope to announce shortly a further report on progress made in implementing the strategy, including in relation to the labour market.

The legislative and practical actions relating to discrimination, including in the workplace, are the responsibility of several Departments including the Government Equalities Office and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Regarding the employment position, the Department for Work and Pensions, whose Minister chairs the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force, leads on public service agreement 8 (maximising employment opportunity for all) to close the ethnic minority employment rate gap. The labour force survey figures for quarter 4 2008, which were released on Wednesday, show that the gap between the ethnic minority employment rate and the overall British employment rate has narrowed to 12.9 percentage points, compared to 14.1 percentage points a year ago (Q4, 2007).