Vaz Visit to Oldham

20150427_190707I was pleased to welcome my colleague Rt Hon Keith Vaz to Oldham earlier this week, to talk with local people about Labour’s policies at the General Election.

Keith received a warm local welcome and attended a house meeting with me to talk about Labour’s BAME manifesto which you can read in full here.

The BAME manifesto sets out key policies and pledges which will deliver growth, jobs and good public services and a future fair for all; and builds on Labour’s record of standing up for BAME families and communities throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Our BAME manifesto starts from the basis that Britain only succeeds when all working people succeed.  Too often in Britain today that’s simply not the case for black and ethnic minority communities.

Long-term unemployment for young people from an ethnic minority background has increased by almost 50 per cent in the last five years. If you’re under 25 and black you’re now twice as likely to be out of work as your white friends and neighbours. And ethnic minority communities are still over-represented in minimum wage jobs, and are more likely to earn less than the living wage, with half of the Bang20150427_191045ladeshi community earning below the living wage

We can and must do better than this. Labour’s BAME manifesto outlines our plan to tackle the race inequalities that hold people back. Our Compulsory Jobs Guarantee will offer a paid starter job to every young person who’s been claiming Jobseekers Allowance for over a year, work they’d have to take or risk losing benefits. Our plan will give more than 3,200 young black and minority ethnic people who have been abandoned by David Cameron the chance to earn, learn and fulfil their potential. Our plans to raise the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 an hour by October 2019 and ban exploitative zero-hours contracts will help close the BAME pay gap. We will introduce a cross-government race equality strategy to drive progress across every area of government.

We will improve the representation of ethnic minority Britons in public life. From the boardroom to Parliament, representative institutions make better decision for everyone in society. We will act to improve representation in the boardroom, the police, the judiciary, the civil service and not least, in Parliament.

And we will build stronger and more cohesive communities. The next Labour government will take robust action against hate crime. We will make these crimes visible, by ensuring hate crimes are clearly marked on the criminal records of perpetrators, and producing new guidance from the Sentencing Council to ensure the appropriate use of sentencing for aggravated hate crimes, particularly for repeat offenders. And we will make sure hate crime is properly recorded, including incidents of Islamophobia, as is currently the case with other types of crime. We will review police and CPS guidance to ensure anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other hate crimes on social media are adequately covered. And we will challenge social media companies to take more responsibility to prevent harassment and hate crimes prosecuted through their sites.

20150427_190804Our values are rooted in the fundamental truth that whatever your background, wherever you’re from in Britain, you should have the means and opportunity to fulfil your potential. And that’s what our BAME manifesto is about. It is a plan for a more equal, fair and just country. A plan that extends opportunity for our young people and tackles the discrimination that holds people back; a plan for better public services with the police and judiciary more representative of the communities they serve, a plan for stronger communities where prejudice is dealt with, rather than ignored and a country that fights for human rights and social justice abroad.

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