LONDON (AFP) - A UK government body on Thursday (Aug 18) called for urgent action to tackle race inequality, warning new figures showed the country's reputation for tolerance was under threat following the Brexit vote.
In a broad overview of life in Britain for black people and ethnic minorities, the Equality and Human Rights Commission report found the situation has worsened on numerous fronts over the past five years.
Race was the motive in 82 per cent of hate crimes recorded in England and Wales, while the two nations saw an "unprecedented spike" in hate crimes since Britain voted on June 23 to leave the European Union.
Black people were found to be more than twice as likely than white people to be murdered in England and Wales than white people, and three times more likely to be prosecuted and sentenced.
Overall white people are more likely to be employed, better paid and in positions of power, the commission said.
"Following the Brexit vote, these issues should be of even greater concern. Our nation's hard-worn reputation for tolerance is arguably facing its greatest threat for decades, as those who spread hate use the leave result to legitimise their views," the report said.
Researchers found black workers with degrees are paid on average 23.1 per cent less than their white counterparts.
The unemployment rates for white British people was recorded as 6.3 per cent, compared to 12.9 per cent for ethnic minorities.
The parliamentary commission said there had been some progress, with an increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities gaining degree-level qualifications.
Last year's national elections furthermore saw the proportion of MPs from ethnic minorities increase from 4.2 to 6.3 per cent, although the commission said much more progress was needed.
"The combination of the post-Brexit rise in hate crime and deep race inequality in Britain is very worrying and must be tackled urgently," said commission chair David Isaac.
"If you are black or an ethnic minority in modern Britain, it can often still feel like you're living in a different world, never mind being part of a one nation society," he added.