UK Politics

Ethnic minorities 'shouldn't be treated as single group'

Graphic illustration showing white cut-out stick people figures and black cut-out stick figure person

Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities are expected to account for up to 30% of the UK's population by 2050, research suggests.

The Policy Exchange think tank says they will become an "ever more significant part of Britain, especially in future elections".

So politicians must stop treating the various communities as if they are "one homogeneous" group, it adds.

There are "striking differences" between them, its report says.

Policy Exchange's study, A Portrait Of Modern Britain, argues immigration from the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent and Africa since World War Two has resulted in diverse groups with widely differing opinions, experiences and traditions.

But politicians have failed to address them individually, it says, even though there are "meaningful differences between each of these communities, which need to be fully understood".

Labour backing

Report co-author Rishi Sunak said: "These communities will continue to become an ever more significant part of Britain, especially in future elections.

"However, as our research demonstrates, ethnic minorities are not one homogeneous political group.

"From education to employment, housing to trust in the police, politicians from all parties must understand the different issues affecting individual communities."

The report looks at the five largest minority groups in the UK:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Black African
  • Black Caribbean

Policy Exchange, which is a centre-right think tank, says eight million people, or 14% of the UK population, are currently from ethnic minorities.

But the BME population now accounts for 80% of growth and has doubled in the past decade, while the white population has remained constant, it adds.

Voters in BME communities overwhelmingly identify with and vote for the Labour Party "regardless of class or association with Conservative policies", Policy Exchange says, with 68% voting for it at the 2010 general election, compared with 16% for the Conservatives and 14% for the Liberal Democrats.

More on this story