Minority groups to get extra Government help to protect them from the recession

Ethnic minorities could receive extra help during the recession following Government fears they will be hardest hit as the economy deteriorates.

Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell announced a controversial drive to ensure ethnic minority workers are not 'left behind'.

He warned that employment levels amongst ethnic minorities fell by ten percentage points in the 1990s recession, more than other groups.

Mr Purnell, announcing the initiative in a speech to Labour's Black Asian and Minority Ethnic annual general meeting in Leicester, said it was vital to ensure the mistakes of previous recessions were not repeated.

'In the past too many were left behind in bad times. Ethnic minority workers suffered most in the Tory recessions,' he said.

'Employment levels amongst ethnic minority workers fell by 10 percentage points in the 1990s recession - much worse than rest of the country.

'Just think of the waste of human potential. Whole communities were abandoned, families where no one then worked for generations.'

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