Badenoch says diversity should not come at the expense of white men | Politics | News

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch says Britain’s push for diversity has been “counterproductive”, saying it should not come at the expense of white men.

Badenoch commissioned a report which found that most of the money spent on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) was wasted.

The report urged bosses to consider the challenges faced by the white working classes when creating diversity schemes, instead of focusing solely on “visible” quotas, reports The Telegraph.

It cited Cheshire Police after the force had to pay £100,000 after it was found they had discriminated against a white applicant based on sexual orientation, race and gender.

The RAF also reportedly discriminated against white men in its efforts to improve diversity. Last year, it is said to have admitted that initiatives to increase the numbers of women and people from ethnic minorities resulted in unlawful positive discrimination.

This issue led to an internal inquiry after a female RAF group captain resigned. She told her superiors that the policy unfairly penalised white men.

Elsewhere Defence Secretary Grant Shapps claimed that a “woke” and “extremist culture” has infiltrated the Army. An independent panel had previously suggested that companies should ensure their EDI staff represent “value for money”.

Writing in The Telegraph, Badenoch said: “The new report shows that, while millions are being spent on these initiatives, many popular EDI practices such as diversity training have little to no tangible impact in increasing diversity or reducing prejudice.

“In fact, many practices have not only been proven to be ineffective, they have also been counterproductive.”

Badenoch concluded by saying: “No group should ever be worse off because of companies’ diversity policies whether that be Black women, or white men … Performative gestures such as compulsory pronouns and rainbow lanyards are often a sign that organisations are struggling to demonstrate how they are being inclusive.”

Last year Badenoch commissioned the Inclusion at Work Panel to investigate whether EDI was working in Britain amid concerns that too much money was being spent on the schemes.

She has now claimed it had little impact in increasing diversity or reducing prejudice, pointing out that the number of employment tribunals hearing cases brought under the Equality Act had seen a “notable uptick”.

Experts also said that the “well-intentioned” attempts to boost visible diversity could lead to organisations breaking the law by discriminating against white candidates for jobs.

They found that one in four business leaders said their approach to diversity was reactive, such as being “in response to societal events like the Black Lives Matter protests” that started in 2020.

The report recommended that bosses avoid diversity schemes which alienate certain groups such as the white working class cause division, and have no impact. It called on the Equality and Human Rights Commission to clarify the legal status for employers in relation to diversity and inclusion practice.

It encouraged bosses to consider the challenges faced by working-class individuals when developing diversity schemes, concluding: “Employers must also consider less visible diversity, including socioeconomic and educational background.”

Badenoch, who previously stated that Britain was “the best country in the world to be Black”, criticised “snake oil” diversity schemes and advises companies that their equality strategies should promote “fairness and meritocracy”.

She points out that some companies have violated the law under the pretence of diversity and inclusion by “censoring beliefs or discriminating against certain groups in favour of others”.

“The report finds that, in some cases, employers are even inadvertently breaking the law under the guise of diversity and inclusion by censoring beliefs or discriminating against certain groups in favour of others,” she says.

“This Government believes that EDI policies should unite rather than alienate employees, and crucially uphold fairness and meritocracy.”

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