Disproportionate impact of cuts on black and minority ethnic groups is 'no surprise'
Posted on Mon 14 May 2012
While it is accepted that some cuts across the public sector and benefits system were necessary, it is disappointing to discover that the government failed to fulfil their legal obligation to ensure that cuts did not disproportionately affect certain social groups.
However, what is more disappointing is that these findings are no surprise- ever since the Fawcett Society argued that the government had failed to recognise the disproportionate impact of reforms on women, voluntary sector groups have highlighted that cuts supposedly based on ‘fairness’ have also disproportionately hit black and minority ethnic groups, people with disabilities, the old and the poor (see for example, our briefing on the impact of housing benefit cuts for black and minority ethnic communities).
Further, while we welcome this report from the Equality and Humans Rights Commission, and the attention it will bring to inequalities resulting from the government’s reform programme, we also believe that it is long overdue. Since the cuts began to bite almost 2 years ago, some specialist charities and support services have all but disappeared. A swifter response from the EHRC could have added weight to arguments from charitable sector, and prevented the slide into poverty for some sectors of our society.
For both legal and moral reasons therefore, we call again on the government to fulfil their obligations under the Equalities Act, and to ensure that in difficult times, it is not the most vulnerable who lose the most.