THE label “white working class” is divisive and unhelpful in tackling poverty, according to a report published yesterday by the Runnymede Trust and the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class).
The Class think tank and race-equality campaigners Runnymede researchers concluded that working-class people are hit by structural inequalities regardless of race.
Inequality is inherited from previous generations, and government policies should be established to reduce these disadvantages, the report, titled Minority Report: Race and Class in post-Brexit Britain, said.
It also concluded that white working-class culture is “pathologised” in a way that blames people for their own situation — even though government spending cuts are put in place by those who are much better-off.
The report says: “It’s not the white working class who award white British graduates nearly three times as many firsts as black British graduates.
“It’s not the white working class who have eliminated targets for child poverty, which is highest among British Bangladeshi and Pakistani households.
“And it’s not the white working class who design budgets that make the poorest Black and Asian women some £2,000 worse off and the wealthiest white men slightly better off.”
Speaking to the Star, Runnymede Trust director and report co-editor Omar Khan said that all working-class communities get blamed.
He highlighted media tropes of broken families, excessive drinking and violence, pitting people against each other and avoiding real causes of problems.
Mr Khan said: “This does the far right a huge favour. White mining communities are asking for more jobs, not more whiteness.”
Recent research by the Women’s Budget Group showed that women of all races are the hardest-hit by austerity, he said.
Mr Khan said he was asked by the Guardian newspaper to write about the history of the term “white working class,” but he would rather write about why the term is unhelpful.
The Equality Trust executive director Dr Wanda Wyporska welcomed the report.
She told the Star: “Runnymede and Class are absolutely right to focus on the blame being placed on working-class people, which all too often distracts from the failure of policy and our economic system.
“Attempts to divide and rule must be challenged.”
The researchers are calling on Home Secretary Amber Rudd to reinstate a socio-economic duty obliging public authorities to take inequalities into account when making policies.