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On 14 June 2020, following Black Lives Matter protests, the Prime Minister indicated the Government would set up a commission to investigate “all aspects of inequality.” On 16 July 2020 the Prime Minister formally established the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

The Commission published its report on 31 March 2021, alongside supporting documents. The report made 24 recommendations in areas including data, education, employment, crime, policing and health.

This briefing discusses the work of the Commission, its recommendations and stakeholder reaction to the report. It also provides statistics on race and ethnic disparities in various areas of life and summarises previous major reviews into race and ethic disparities.

Who were the commissioners?

There were ten commissioners. Dr Tony Sewell CBE, an education consultant, chaired the Commission. Dr Sewell was previously appointed by Boris Johnson (then Mayor of London) to chair an inquiry examining primary and secondary education in London.

The nine other commissioners were drawn from fields including science, education, broadcasting, economics, medicine, policing and community organising.  

What was the reaction to the report?

The report is seen as highly controversial and stakeholder reaction to it has been mixed. Some stakeholders said the report rightly identified various causes of disparties, while others criticised its discussion of institutional racism, the veracity of its conclusions and its reference to the slave trade.

What other reviews have there been?

Some commentators have highlighted previous reviews of racial inequality, with their recommendations in various stages of implementation. This briefing discusses the following reviews:

 Further reading from the Commons Library


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