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Why set up the Taskforce?

We are proud of the diversity of our region.  But we also know that 1.3 million people living across the West Midlands may face race inequality.  That is why the WMCA Board agreed to set up the independent Race Equalities Taskforce (July 2021).  Its job is to find new ways to address inequality and improve opportunities for all.

How diverse is the West Midlands? 

The West Midlands is by far the most ethnically diverse UK region outside of London. According to the Census 2021, around 45% of people living in the WMCA metropolitan area do not identify as being from a White British background. This diversity makes our region unique.

% of population by ethnic groups:

  • White British, 55.9%
  • Pakistani, 9.5%
  • Indian, 7.8%
  • Black African, 4.3%
  • Other White, 4.3%
  • Black Caribbean, 2.8%
  • Bangladeshi, 2.5%
  • Any other ethnic group, 2.5%
  • Other Asian, 2.3%
  • White and Black Caribbean, 2.1%
  • White Irish, 1.1%
  • Other Black, 1%
  • White and Asian, 1%
  • Roma, 1%
  • Arab, 1%
  • Chinese, 0.8%
  • Other Mixed or Multiple groups, 0.8%
  • White and Black African, 0.3%
  • White Gypsy or Irish Traveller, 0.1% 

Source: UK Census 2021

Population % from racialised communities:

  • Birmingham, 57% (43% White British)
  • Sandwell, 48% (52% White British)
  • Wolverhampton, 45% (55% White British)
  • Coventry, 45% (55% White British)
  • Walsall, 33% (67% White British)
  • Solihull, 22% (78% White British)
  • Dudley, 18% (82% White British)

Population % from racialised communities across different Combined Authority regions:

  • West Midlands, 44%
  • Greater Manchester, 29%
  • West Yorkshire, 28%
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, 27%
  • West of England, 21%
  • South Yorkshire, 17%
  • North of Tyne, 13%
  • Liverpool City Region, 12%
  • Tees Valley, 10%
  • North East, 7%

The overall proportion of people for England and Wales is:

  • 26% from racialised communities 
  • 74% White British

What inequalities do people face?

There is clear evidence to show that life can be harder for people who are not from a White British background. People from racialised communities can face more barriers to success. This includes finding it harder to get good jobs, transport and housing. They often have worse experiences of health, education and the criminal justice system. This is on top of the challenges facing the whole region.

  • Black Caribbean children are 2.5 times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than White children.
  • Second generation Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean children are more likely to be highly educated but less likely to be employed.
  • The unemployment rate for ethnic minority communities is times higher than for White British people.
  • £24 billion value would be added to the UK economy if ethnic minority communities were represented.
  • The race pay gap in the West Midlands is 9.5%, which is higher than the majority of English regions.

Source: Race Forward report (2023).

  • Ethnic minority people are at a greater risk from preventable illness.
  • Ethnic minority people are 40% more likely to receive mental health treatment in the criminal justice system than primary care.
  • 66% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people are expected to experience fuel poverty, compared to 52% for ethnic minority communities and 32% of White people.
  • Black people in England are nearly times more likely as White people to have no access to outdoor space at home.
  • Black mothers are 5 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than White mothers.

Source: Race Forward report (2023).

  • 68% of White British households own their own homes, compared to 50% for all ethnic minority community households.
  • Black and Pakistani people are 4 times more likely to live in deprived neighbourhoods compared to White British people.
  • 45% of minority ethnic children lived in families in poverty after housing costs, compared to 20% of children in White British families.
  • People from ethnic minority heritage are 5 times more likely to live in  overcrowded housing in the West Midlands.
  • 33% of applicants for temporary accommodation in the West Midlands are of Black heritage.

Source: Race Forward report (2023).

  • People from ethnic minority backgrounds are 2 times more likely to live in a household with no car ownership.
  • People from ethnic minority communities are more likely to live in areas with poor air quality.
  • South Asian communities are most affected by traffic collisions.
  • Only 14.5% of the transport workforce are from non-white backgrounds.
  • West Midlands has the largest regional difference in internet use between different ethnic groups.

Source: Race Forward report (2023).

  • Black people are 3x more likely to be arrested than White people. 
  • In the West Midlands, Black people are 4 times more likely to be stopped and searched than White people.
  • Ethnic minority groups are disproportionately represented in the youth justice system. In 2020/21, fewer than 41% of children in youth custody in the West Midlands were White British.
  • In the West Midlands youth justice system, 70% of White children were dealt with pre-court compared to 30% of minority ethnic children. 
  • In the 3 years leading to March 2021, the average homicide rate for Black people was 6 times higher than for White people and 4 times higher than victims of other ethnicity. Black women are disproportionately victims of sexual assault.

Source: Race Forward report (2023).

Why is inequality a problem for our region?

Race inequality matters for everyone. And it is a particularly urgent problem in a region as diverse as the West Midlands. If 45% of people cannot reach their full potential, then neither can the region as a whole.

  • Racism harms people and communities.
  • Many people face more barriers to success.
  • Many people are not able to reach their full potential.
  • Businesses lose out on talent.
  • The region is not as successful as it could be.
  • Give people a fair chance to reach their potential.
  • Unlock the potential of our communities.
  • Support businesses to reach the best talent, make better decisions and be more resilient.
  • Improve and take pressure off of public services.
  • Enable the whole West Midlands to reach its potential and “Level Up.”

How will the Taskforce make a difference?

Race inequality is a longstanding and complicated issue. But we know that change is necessary and possible. The Taskforce will help to make change happen. It is an independent group that will focus on improving opportunities for all.

The Taskforce will do this by working with a wide range of partners such as:

  • Public services
  • Businesses
  • Voluntary groups and communities.

And it will work to build a better understanding of race disparities and how these can be tackled. It will do this by:

  • Helping people to understand why change is needed.
  • Gathering better data and listening to people.
  • Sharing what good work is already happening.
  • Finding new ways to address race inequalities.
  • Calling on everyone to take action.