'For too long, ethnic minority communities have had to face more than their share of social exclusion, poverty and unemployment.
'Unemployment amongst black men of working age is unacceptably
'Many women face a double discrimination because of both their
gender and their ethnic origin. I see their problems every day
at first hand in my constituency.
'The government will tackle these problems.
'Work is the best form of welfare for all people of working
age. We are determined to take action to ensure equal opportunities for people from ethnic minorities in helping them to find work.
'One of the options the young unemployed will be offered under
our 'New Deal' will be full-time education and training. Those
whose first language is not English will be able to study for
up to a year to improve their language skills. They will also
be able to join the 'New Deal' immediately, rather than having
to wait the usual six months. Their progress and experience
through the programme will be closely monitored.
'Our New Deal for Lone Parents, the leading edge of our
welfare to work programme, is already helping to give many
young black women the opportunity to work. Many more will
benefit from access to affordable, high-quality childcare
provided by the national childcare strategy.
'The many business leaders in the ethnic minority community
have a crucial role to play in the effective delivery of
'Welfare to Work'. They have the ideas, the contacts, the energy
and - above all - the necessary identification with the local
community to help make the New Deal programme a success.'
Turning to welfare reform, she said:
'We are committed to developing our welfare reform proposals
in close consultation and discussion with those who are most
interested. And I want to make sure representatives of ethnic
minority groups are included in a meaningful dialogue with the
'We are currently working closely with the Commission for
Racial Equality and many other ethnic minority organisations.'
Moving on to announce a new initiative in her own department,
Ms Harman said:
'My department is a large employer with many staff from ethnic
minority backgrounds, but too few in senior management positions. I propose to launch a special bursary scheme to help the most promising staff from ethnic minority backgrounds to fulfil their higher management potential. The bursary holders will receive financial support for training, mentoring from a senior staff member and developmental postings to help them gain new skills and fulfil their potential. I will announce further details shortly and hope to launch the scheme before Christmas.'
Emphasising the important role the ethnic media can play as a
conduit for constructive debate, Ms Harman concluded:
'We have a great opportunity to eradicate the failures of the
past, and bring a new sense of ambition, hope and dignity to
those who were previously marginalised.'