date: 19 August 2005
embargo: 00:01 hours Wednesday Aug 24 2005
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber is to visit the East London Mosque today (Wednesday) to launch a new TUC report calling for Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh to be made a major target for government programmes to create jobs and end poverty and poor health.
Mr Barber, who will also visit Leeds and Birmingham on Tuesday August 30, is meeting community groups to express solidarity in the wake of attacks on Muslims following the London bomb attacks, and to call for more action to end poverty and promote social inclusion.
The TUC report shows that people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin are among the most deprived in the UK. Out of every 100 white people 20 live below the government poverty line, but out of every 100 Pakistanis and Bangladeshis 69 live in poverty. They are more likely to have no qualifications or have a limiting long-term illness than other groups, and have the lowest employment rate (43 per cent) of any ethnic group.
While the report is clear that many Muslims are not from Pakistan or Bangladesh (12 per cent are white and seven per cent black for example) they do make up the majority of UK Muslims (60 per cent).
TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, said: 'There has been much debate about the future of our multicultural society once we learnt that the London bombers were from the UK. Trade unions were quick to call for support for Muslim communities, who were as horrified by these attacks as anyone else, but have been subject to racist attacks and far right abuse.
'Of course social deprivation and poverty is no excuse for criminality, but it can be a breeding ground for poisonous beliefs of all kinds. And even if there had been no bomb attacks, a civilised country should not tolerate such high levels of poverty and deprivation.
'We have had too many cheap calls for Muslims to integrate - some of which have come close to asking people to give up crucial parts of their identity. Building a tolerant liberal society where we are all free to express all the different sides that make up anyone's identity will be that much harder when some groups suffer from such extreme levels of deprivation and poverty.'
Key facts from the report
- Pakistanis make up 1.3 per cent and Bangladeshis 0.5 per cent of the UK population, and 16.2 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively of the non-white population.
- More than half of Bangladeshis (54 per cent) live in London, with significant communities in the West Midlands (11 per cent) and North East (9 per cent)
- More Pakistanis live in the Midlands (21 per cent) than any other region but Yorkshire and the Humber (20 per cent) and London (19 per cent) are not far behind.
- More than 90 per cent of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are Muslims, and they make up 43 per cent and 17 per cent respectively of all UK Muslims. 12 per cent of Muslims are white, 7 per cent are black and 4 per cent Chinese.
- 69 per cent of Pakistani/Bangladeshis are poor compared to 20 per cent of whites. 63 per cent of PB children suffer from child poverty, the government has a target to end child poverty by 2020.
- 23 per cent of Pakistani/Bangladeshis live in overcrowded conditions compared to 2 per cent of whites
- 29 per cent of Pakistani men and 36 per cent of Pakistani women have no qualifications . For Bangladeshis the figures are 38 per cent and 46 per cent respectively.
- 23 per cent of Pakistani/Bangladeshis have a limiting long-term illness compared to 14 per cent of whites.
- The employment rate of Pakistani/Bangladeshis is 43 per cent compared to 76 per cent for whites.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber and TUC General Council member Mohammed Taj will be joined by Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Chairman of the East London Mosque and Deputy General Secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, and representatives of various faith and community groups at 3pm at the East London Mosque, 82-92 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1JQ. Photographers and press are invited to attend.
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Issued: 24 August, 2005