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Austerity, racial policies in UK amplify hate crimes: Pundit

A report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission warns Britain is deeply divided after Brexit.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Zita Holbourne, the co-founder of the anti-austerity group Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts, and Next Century Foundation Secretary General William Morris, both from London, to discuss racial inequality in the UK.

Holbourne said racism has been around in the UK for a long time, but it has been amplified by austerity and government policies against migrant and black communities over the past six years.

The UK government and political parties, he said, single out migrant and black communities as the cause of austerity and use them as a scapegoat to cover up problems in the country.

A report, released by a UK government body on Wednesday night, stated that life opportunities for young people from minority backgrounds have got much worse over the past five years, and are at the most challenging for generations.

According to the UK police, 3,000 hate crimes took place in the week up to the British referendum on leaving the EU and the following week and became worse when the result was announced.

The figure stands while only one in four black people and migrants report hate crimes, Holbourne said.

“If you create a society where racism is accepted as the norm, where you have got denial by politicians and the mainstream media that we are living in a post-racial society, then there is going to be a problem,” she said.

Touching on the UK vote to leave the EU, Holbourne said "the Brexit campaign was a toxic, racist and xenophobic campaign, which actually emboldened those who hold racist views to express themselves."

Also on "The Debate" program on Wednesday night, Morris said racial inequality for the disadvantaged black and other communities has been rampant for quite a long time in the British society.

But hate crimes and Islamophobia are new phenomena in Britain which the country is witnessing after the Brexit vote for UK's withdrawal from the European Union, he said.

The UK-based Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Wednesday night called for urgent action to tackle race inequality, saying a new study showed the situation had worsened in Britain over the past five years.

According to an EHRC study, black people living in Britain are more than twice as likely to be murdered as white people, underscoring the widening social gap in one of the world’s most developed countries.

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