Race Equality and the Black Experience in 2017 – the current debate

Ade-house of commons

Was at the House of Commons yesterday to take part in this debate.  this is my presentation.

Inequality remains a problem in the United Kingdom, especially for black people.

There is a still a penalty for being black, there is a penalty in stop and search, in health, in education, in the criminal justice system and in dealing with people with learning difficulties, there is an ethnic pay penalty and a penalty in doing business.

 

The government needs to tackle inequality!  This country will not be a better place when inequality is still glaring, and our younger people are not getting the jobs that they are ordinarily qualified for even when they go on to higher education.  Without true equality, the country will be unstable in a way that will affect community integration and social cohesion.

 

A more equal society will put the country back in better balance and will promote the equity that breeds more prosperity and the environment that engenders prosperity and the contribution to the wealth creation effort and more fairness in the distribution of wealth in this first world country.

 

We have certainly come a long way from those days of open discrimination, but there is still urgent work to be done by black people to keep up with the protest and campaign against racial discrimination.

 

We need to push for positive action now that our proportion of the population is growing.  It is no longer less than the 1% that it was in the 1970s when we pushed for the Race Relations Act 1976 to be passed.

Over the past 40 years, a lot of work has been done but we cannot afford to be complacent now that there are over 2 million black people and in some local area almost 50% of residents.

 

The black population is expected to reach over 10% of the working population in the next 10 years and yet black people continue to be discriminated against in workforce.  This is the time when the government must lead the way in implementing targets for the recruitment and progression of black people in their employment.  The question that needs asking is why were those targets that were promised in the Home Office stopped?  Were those targets dropped after an evaluation or was race no longer the flavour of the month. My answer is that let us bring the targets back; the targets may look symbolic but they may yet prove effective for the benefit of the black population, because other departments and other establishments may just follow that desirable example!!

Continue reading “Race Equality and the Black Experience in 2017 – the current debate”

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Celebrating Black Businesses at Black History Month 2013 – Ade Sawyerr

Mayor of London Black History Month Event.

Many things have been celebrated in black history month over the years but I doubt whether there has been any celebration of black people in business in Britain so in this brief note I intend to chronicle the history of black business development and celebrate the initiatives in the hope that more assistance will come in the way as we look forward to contributing to the brighter future of wealth creation in this country.

We have come a very long way from the days when black people did not routinely aspire or even think of self employment; setting up a business was but a dream for most.

I know there were several small black-owned businesses around 35 years ago, travel agents, hairdressing salons, night clubs, takeaways and restaurants, newspapers, patty shops and bakeries, records shops and various other businesses though most were devoted to personal services.

Research into black businesses

In 1980, the UK Caribbean Chamber of Commerce had brought their difficulties to the attention of government.  The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee commissioned some research and called for several papers and published in December 1980 the report titled: West Indian Businesses in Britain.

Several others carried out research on the back of this initial report to assist in the development of policy on how black people in business in this country can be assisted.

  • Martin Kazuka wrote ‘Why so few Black Business’ for the Hackney Business Promotion Project
  • Alan Brookes researched Caribbean businesses in Lambeth
  • Peter Wilson focussed on Brent for the Runnymede Trust in 1983
  •  Ade Sawyerr also contributed to the effort with my research on Particular problems faced by black controlled businesses in Britain with some proposals for their solution for his MBA dissertation at Manchester Business School in 1982 which broke academic ground on the subject.

Most of these reports revealed that black businesses faced several problems:

  • Black businesses were small and remained so because they focussed on personal services serving a captive ethnic market.
  • Access to capital and credit was difficult in the face of unwillingness by banks to lend partly because they did not understand the businesses and did not have confidence in them as entrepreneurs.
  • There were problems with access to premises and skilled staff and competent managers
  • Markets were generally closed to them because of their size and this led them to focus on their own communities.

These could be resolved with concerted action by government, the private sector and the academics working together and by facilitating organisations also providing assistance.

But it was left to Lord Scarmann who had been asked by government to inquire into the Brixton disorders who having found that ways of policing Brixton was totally unacceptable bemoaned the issue of young black people who were unemployed and to a large extent had no stake in the british society.  He was bold enough to suggest a raft of employment training initiatives and went further to push government into action.  Scarmann wrote …..: but I do urge the necessity for speedy action if we are to avoid a perpetuation in this country of an economically indisposed black population.  A weakness in British society is that there are too few people of West Indian origin in the business, entrepreneurial, and professional class.

Continue reading “Celebrating Black Businesses at Black History Month 2013 – Ade Sawyerr”

Equinox Consulting! Celebrating 28 years of service to the black community in Britain

The Equinox Consulting story

The story of Equinox Consulting can be likened to a journey of hard work with a lot of fulfilment along the way; but like all journeys, things do not always go as planned. There are detours and there are new objectives that get set up along the journey.  The business model and the strategy for survival have to be constantly updated especially if like us you have been able to survive two recessions.

We remain in business because there is, and has always been a compelling need for the work we do for our clients, and the demand for our services has enabled us to survive and be successful. Continue reading “Equinox Consulting! Celebrating 28 years of service to the black community in Britain”

Big Society: One size fits all?

Big Society: One size fits all? [1.9833333333333]

Big Society: One size fits all?

Submitted 25 Feb 2011 10:52am
in 

One size does not fit all. Give government work programme contracts to local organisations says business and training  consultant Ade Sawyerr.

The Conservatives won the election in 1983 because the country did not want to relive the crisis of the mid to late 1970s with all the union strikes and the problems of the economy that brought the IMF to intervene in the Britain and demand a structural adjustment of the economy. But Margaret Thatcher almost closed down Britain after she took over as Prime Minister in 1979. She destroyed the manufacturing base, took on the unions, sent 3 million people to the dole and sent the country into recession.

The country must have voted for her partly because of the Falklands War, but mainly because of the confidence they had that she could sort out the economy.

An economy which has millions of people unemployed is not a productive economy and the government ends up spending more money on unemployment benefit. But in truth governments wish that everyone would work, to increase the national income and also to pay taxes. So what did Thatcher do that is not happening now. Continue reading “Big Society: One size fits all?”