The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, set up after Black Lives Matter protests, have concluded that concerns the UK is institutionally racist are not borne out by the evidence.
The Commission found social class and family structure had a bigger impact on how people’s lives turned out.
But overt racism remains, it adds.
The commission was set up in response to anti-racism protests across the country last summer – triggered by the killing of George Floyd in the US.
The main findings were:
1. Children from ethnic communities did as well or better than white pupils in compulsory education, with black Caribbean pupils the only group to perform less well
2. This success in education has “transformed British society over the last 50 years into one offering far greater opportunities for all”
3. The pay gap between all ethnic minorities and the white majority population had shrunk to 2.3% overall and was barely significant for employees under 30
Diversity has increased in professions such as law and medicine
But some communities continue to be “haunted” by historic racism, which is creating “deep mistrust” and could be a barrier to success
The commission’s report, which is due to be published later, concluded that the UK is not yet a “post-racial country” – but its success in removing race-based disparity in education and, to a lesser extent, the economy, “should be regarded as a model for other white-majority countries”.
Matthew Ryder QC, the lawyer who represented the family of Stephen Lawrence and a former deputy mayor of London, pointed to a 2019 report by the University of Aberdeen which he said found that white working class boys with lower educational qualifications and a lower likelihood of going to university, still had higher employment rates and higher social mobility than those from minority ethnic backgrounds.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that this suggested “racism is in the system, and doesn’t suggest racism has been removed from the system”.