White Irish people in the UK earn “notably more” that the average British white person, a report on the ethnicity pay gap in the UK has found.
The report, by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, found that the gap between the mean hourly earnings of all ethnic groups, and the white British, was 2.3 per cent, with the ethnic groups, on average, earning less.
But for Chinese, Indian and white Irish people, average earnings exceed those of the white British, with the Irish being the best paid of all.
Research showed the white Irish earning 41 per cent more than the white British. The equivalent figures for the Chinese and Indian populations were 23 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.
Those groups earning less than the white British included the Pakistani and mixed white/black African communities, who earn 15 per cent less.
The report found that while white Irish scored very well in terms of educational attainment, Irish Traveller children were at the bottom of the range, along with children from the white Gypsy and Roma communities.
The report said that special support was required for people from black Caribbean, mixed white and black Caribbean, Traveller of Irish heritage, Gypsy and Roma, Pakistani boys from low socio-economic backgrounds, and lower socio-economic status white British young people.
“Nevertheless, the level of success experienced by many ethnic minorities in the UK is outstanding and should be recognised as such,” the report said.
Some groups reacted strongly to the report, saying it downplayed the role of racism, while the departure from Downing Street of prime minister Boris Johnson’s most senior black adviser, Samuel Kasumu, in the same week as the landmark report’s publication was also seized on by critics. Downing Street said any suggestion that the resignation was linked to the report was “completely inaccurate”.
In its report, the commission expressed concern about the use of “imprecise and often misleading language around race and racism”. It expressed concern about a tendency to use the term racism when accounting for every observed disparity.
“This matters because the more things are explained as a result of racial bias, the more it appears that society is set against ethnic minorities, which in turn can discourage ethnic minority individuals from pursuing their goals.”
The use of the term Bame (black, Asian and minority ethnic) was no longer helpful, the commission said, as it disguised huge differences between ethnic groups. It said that if it is possible to have racial disadvantage without racists “then we need to look elsewhere for the roots of that disadvantage”.
On the question of why some groups have transcended disadvantage more swiftly than others, it noted the high incidence of family breakdown and lone-parent families among some ethnic groups.
While 14.7 per cent of UK families were lone-parent families, the figure jumped to 63 per cent with the black Caribbean community, and 42 per cent with the black African community. By way of contrast, the equivalent figure for the Indian community was just 6 per cent.
Differing attitudes towards integration; differing attitudes towards women in the workplace; where in the UK different ethnic communities tended to live; and language skills were also considered by the commission.