Downing Street ‘rewrote report on race to make it palatable’

"We did not deny institutional racism or play that down as the final document did."

Downing Street is being accused of ‘rewriting’ the latest UK race report.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities concluded that the UK is not an institutionally racist country, and that the country ‘no longer’ functions in a way that disadvantages individuals from ethnic minorities.

But according to The Observer, important sections of the findings, which were made public on 31st March, have been changed.

Last July, twelve independent commissioners were appointed to conduct the review. The aim of making the enquiry independent was to ensure an honest investigation into inequality in the UK.

When published, the findings of the 258-page review were widely criticised by industry professionals, academics and more. We spoke to a Black barrister, who said she has seen institutional racism first hand.

Now, several of the twelve members who conducted the research have come forward to share that the findings the government released were, in short, re-written.

Kunle Olulode is the first commissioner to publicly share that the version of the report released by number ten focused on ‘selective’ use of evidence.

“The report does not give enough to show its understanding of institutional or structural discrimination … evidence in sections, that assertive conclusions are based on, is selective,” his charity, Voice4Change, shared with The Observer. “The report gives no clear direction on what expectations of the role of public institutions and political leadership should be in tackling race and ethnic disparities. What is the role of the state in this?”

A further commissioner, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the government has ‘bent’ the report to form ‘a more palatable’ political narrative.

“We did not deny institutional racism or play that down as the final document did.

“The idea that this report was all our own work is full of holes. You can see that in the inconsistency of the ideas and data it presents and the conclusions it makes. That end product is the work of very different views,” they shared.

They claim that they were not given final sign off on the report or allowed to see the finished product. Instead, the findings, they claim, were produced and signed off by officials within number ten.

Number ten has so far unofficially denied rewriting the report. A spokesperson said: “I would reiterate the report is independent and that the government is committed to tackling inequality.”

The twelve commissioners included the likes of scientist and BBC broadcaster Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Samir Shah, former chair of the Runnymede Trust.

Ultimately, the main goal, the commissioners share, is to change the lives of the millions dealing with racial injustice across the UK. “The commission’s view is that, if implemented, these 24 recommendations can change for the better the lives of millions across the UK, whatever their ethnic or social background. That is the goal they continue to remain focused on,” they share.

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