British companies may have to reveal racial make-up

Major companies in Britain would be asked to publish a racial breakdown of their workforce, as per Tory plans to reassure black and Asian voters including Indians.

Prime Minister David Cameron, head of the Conservative-led coalition, has told his cabinet to develop policies to appeal to ethnic communities and one of the ideas is to encourage companies to reveal how many minority ethnic workers they employ, the 'Times' newspaper reported.

India-born Tory party vice-chairman Alok Sharma has been asked by the Prime Minister to provide ideas for the party to appeal to ethnic minorities.

Only around 16 per cent of non-white voters at the last election backed the Conservative Party, which fears its inability to truly connect with ethnic minorities.

"You could also have some sort of voluntary code for listed companies to say, if you've taken on 10 people this year and you had 100 interviews and you had 1,000 people who applied, can we see the breakdown by gender and ethnic balance," Sharma said.

"I am not talking about quotas. It's about information. All the companies I've talked to are incredibly keen on having diversity in their workforce, making sure they are representative of communities, so long as people get the job on merit," the Reading West MP added.

Sharma had made the same call in a Commons debate on gender inequality earlier this month, and said he would press ministers for a response.

"This could be an interesting way of shining a light and saying to people, maybe you should be doing a bit more mentoring with these communities. Something like that is a statement of values," he said.

The Opposition Labour party dismissed the new proposals and pointed to the Tories' record in cutting legal support for black workers.

The coalition has also launched a review of the new Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which requires public bodies in the country to have "due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination" and "advance equality of opportunity".

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