Unemployment up by 74% among Minority Ethnic women in Coventry: New report uncovers cost of cuts

 Monday 8 July 2013
For more information contact Kindy Sandhu 07921 904212/ 024 77677994or email kindy_sandhu@yahoo.co.uk

Unemployment up by 74% among Minority Ethnic women in Coventry:

New report uncovers cost of cuts

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women are among some of the hardest hit by the Government’s programme of spending cuts according to a ground-breaking new report published today by the Centre for Human Rights in Practice at the University of Warwick, Coventry Women’s Voices, Coventry Ethnic Minority Action Partnership and Foleshill Women’s Training.

The report, Layers of inequality: a human rights and equality impact assessment of the cuts on BAME women in Coventry examines for the first time the combined impact on BAME women of cuts in a range of areas including employment, housing, welfare benefits, health, social care, education, legal aid, violence against women and voluntary organisations.

The impact of the cuts that have already taken place will be made worse by announcements in the spending review that will particularly affect BAME women
Although the report focusses on Coventry, its findings are likely to apply across the UK. Findings of the report include:

  • BAME women are more likely to work in the public sector so have been disproportionately affected by job cuts and pay freezes. Unemployment among BAME women in Coventry increased by 74.4% between 2009 and 2013. Unemployment among white British women increased by 30.5% during the same period. (1)
  • The cuts to local government budgets announced in the spending review will lead to further job cuts for BAME women.
  • BAME women are more likely to be poor and receive a higher proportion of their income from benefits and tax credits. Cuts to welfare benefits will cost all women in Coventry £76 million a year out of a total of £112 million(2). BAME women are among those hardest hit – the Government’s assessment of the benefits cap concluded that 40% of families affected would include someone who is BAME.

As a range of agencies have warned, the delay of a week before someone can claim benefits when they lose a job may increase child poverty and force people who lose their job to turn to loan sharks and food banks. BAME women are likely to be disproportionately affected because of their greater poverty.

Report author Kindy Sandhu from Coventry Women’s Voices said:
Our report shows that BAME women are among the hardest hit by public spending cuts across many areas. Now the spending review is making a bad situation worse. BAME women will lose more jobs, more money and more services. This is a big issue for Coventry since a third of our population is BAME, but it will be the same for BAME women across the country. We did not cause this situation, but we are paying the price for it.

Report co-author, Dr James Harrison of the Centre for Human Rights in Practice said:
The combined impact of cuts to benefits and services will disproportionately affect many of the poorest and most vulnerable BAME women in Coventry. Public authorities both nationally and here in Coventry have legal obligations under the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act to promote equality and protect human rights. They need to take these obligations very seriously when making decisions about budget cuts.

Varinder Kaur from Coventry Ethnic Minority Action Partnership said:
The announcement that job seekers must learn English in the spending review seems designed to demonise us. The problem is not that people refuse to learn English – the problem is that it is getting harder to get on an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class. The Government seems to be deliberately creating the impression that the problem is about people who don’t speak English but claim benefits, even though they must know that the proportion of people who are claiming benefits and can’t speak English is miniscule, far smaller than the proportion of people who want to learn English but can’t get on a course.

Christine McNaught from Foleshill Women’s Training said:
At Foleshill Women’s Training we provide health and employment services to women in one of the poorest parts of Coventry. The women who use our centre are suffering increased poverty because of benefit cuts, longer waiting times for medical treatment and cuts to local services. And because our funding has fallen from £450k in 2010/11 to £190k in 2012/13 we have fewer resources to support them.

Notes to editors:

The report launch will take place at 9.30 am on Monday 8 July 2013, at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Jordan Well, Coventry, CV1 5QP

A full copy of the report is available here

1. Source: Nomis (2013) Job Seekers Allowance Claimants data for Coventry by ethnicity, age, gender and duration February 2009 to February 2013,
2. Calculated based on the conclusion of work by the Fawcett Society that 68% of the cost of welfare reforms would hit by women. Fawcett Society (2012) “How have Coalition budgets affected women?” Cost of benefit cuts in Coventry based on Beatty, C. and Fothergill, S. (2013) “Hitting the Poorest Places Hardest: the local and national impact of welfare reform.” Sheffield Hallam University. See page 4 for a link to a spread-sheet showing cuts by local authority.
3. Source: Coventry rent market summary (2013).

The Centre for Human Rights in Practice provides a focus for academics, students, practitioners and activists who wish to advance the study and promotion of human rights at a local, national and international level.

Coventry Women’s Voices works to ensure that women’s voices are heard in Coventry when policy is made.

Coventry Ethnic Minority Action Partnership works with people, organisations and agencies to improve the delivery of services to Ethnic Minority Communities in Coventry.
Foleshill Women’s Training are dedicated to helping all women in Coventry and the surrounding areas through social, health and economic programmes.

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About coventrywomensvoices

Coventry Womens Voices is an independent group of women’s organisations, organisations working with women and individuals that have come together to ensure women’s voices are heard when policy is made in Coventry. Our mission is to “Make Women’s Voices Heard in Coventry”.
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