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Opposition MSPs agree: Fix the barriers to reporting racial discrimination

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Opposition politicians have called on the Scottish Government to make it easier for those experiencing racial discrimination to complain about inequality.

Earlier this week Health Secretary Humza Yousaf lodged complaints with the Care Inspectorate claiming his two-year-old daughter Amal had been racially discriminated against when she was refused a place at Little Scholars Nursery in Broughty Ferry.

humza yousaf
Humza Yousaf MSP and Nadia El-Nakla

Following this we asked – just what do you do if you feel you have been racially discriminated against?

However often the processes to raise these grievances are long, complex and can involve a lot of expenses.

The Citizens Advice Bureau even warns on its website that some actions, such as taking forward an employment tribunal, can be “very stressful”.

Now opposition politicians say something needs to be done to make it easier for people to highlight when they are experiencing racial inequality in areas such as employment, education, housing and healthcare.

More needs to be done, says opposition

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, who is tipped to take over the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: “The options for seeking redress for racial discrimination are often complex and time-consuming and many will be put off from going through the process.

“For the most part Scotland is a welcoming and tolerant country but there are still pockets of discrimination which must be stamped out.

“The Scottish Government should look at whether more can be done to help those seeking justice.

“One idea put forward by the Scottish Liberal Democrats is for new pay audits to ensure people from ethnic minorities have fair opportunities and are not discriminated against.”

Labour’s Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP, who sits on both the equalities, human rights and civil justice committee and the social justice and social security committee at Holyrood, says it is important people know exactly what their rights are.

Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP

She said: “We are seeing if legal aid funding can support people in civil cases – it is hard to get legal aid for that.

“In housing, education and other areas people need to know what their rights are so we need to work with communities so they know the system and so it can be done right in the first place.

“We also need a solid system of advocacy to give advice and support.”

Millions spent on tackling race inequality

The Scottish Government says it is providing millions to help tackle racial inequality in Scotland.

A spokeswoman for the government said: “There is no place for racism, or racial discrimination in Scotland.

“Our ambition is to see tangible change in race equality, focused on tackling systemic and structural racism, and measurably improving the lives and opportunities of people from minority ethnic communities.

“Over the last three years we have provided £7.8 million funding to advance race equality, including: training for public sector staff, raising awareness of racism and supporting the black and minority ethnic community – improving health, economic and social outcomes.

“We are also developing an ethnicity pay gap strategy, which will support employers to evidence how different minority ethnic groups are represented in an organisation, across different pay bands.”

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