The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.
This statement, from the LD party constitution, has been our guiding principle since the party was formed in 1988.
Which is why it is so crushing and enraging that racial inequality still exists in the UK in all walks of life.
We see it in the representation of our MPs in Parliament – and the Liberal Democrats need to be much better on this issue too.
But we also see it in hiring statistics, ethnicity pay gaps, conviction and incarceration rates, mental health support, and child poverty. We have a long way to go.
The first motion we’ve debated at conference has been called ‘Eradicating Race Inequality’.
I’m not so naïve as to think that we can eradicate institutional racism in the UK any time soon, if ever. But this motion would help us take big steps in that direction.
We can be proud that these are now Liberal Democrat policies:
- Immediately ending this government’s hostile environment policy, and repatriating people who have been forced to leave the UK unjustly like the Windrush generation.
- Exposing and confronting stereotyping in the media and supporting those organisations that fight against hate crime.
- Developing freely available, high quality training tools on unconscious bias and requiring all public bodies and organisations that receive public funds to ensure that every employee has received unconscious bias training. This will go a long way to improve hiring and promotion of ethnic minority staff in the workplace.
- Requiring employers with more than 200 staff to annually report their ethnic minority pay gap as they do for gender.
- And prioritising funding projects that will promote ethnic minority role models across all fields – changing attitudes and giving inspiration to the next generation.
Remember, it is also in the interests of employers and shareholders to have an integrated and diverse work force. The potential benefit to the UK economy from full representation of BAME individuals across the labour market has been estimated to be £24 billion a year which represents 1.3% of GDP!
You can read the whole motion for yourself here: