Lord Ajay Kakkar, Dr Samir Shah on UK PMs new race commission

Lord Ajay Kakkar, Dr Samir Shah on UK PMs new race commission

Global Indians Lord Ajay Kakkar and Dr Samir Shah are among the members of a new Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which will look at inequalities across UK society and suggest means to tackle them.

Lord Kakkar is the Professor of Surgery at University College London (UCL), Director of the Thrombosis Research Institute, chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission and chair of the King's Fund. He brings with him years of experience from the medical field.

Dr Samir Shah is CEO of Juniper TV, former BBC journalist and former chair of race relations think tank Runnymede Trust and is associated with quality journalism and documentaries on wide-ranging subjects. He?was appointed a CBE for services to Television and Heritage in the Queen's Birthday Honour's list last year.

The new commission, first announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, is packed with a dozen commissioners, including co-opted members, covering the fields of science, education, broadcasting, economics, medicine, policing and community organising.

Inclusive research

Johnson said: “I am establishing an independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. This cross-government commission will examine inequality in the UK, across the whole population.

“I am thrilled we have assembled a group of 10 talented and diverse commissioners, who each bring a wealth of experience from across a range of important sectors. The Commission will be inclusive, undertaking research and inviting submissions where necessary. It will set a positive agenda for change.”

The new independent commission will be chaired by Dr Tony Sewell, Head of the charity Generating Genius, and will report to the UK Prime Minister.

“Tony has supported many young people from diverse backgrounds into STEM [Science, technology, engineering and mathematics] careers. I know well how his work has improved access to education across London, and I am confident that he shares my commitment to maximising opportunity for all,” added Johnson.

Health, education, criminal justice

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will aim to report its findings on the priority areas of health, education, criminal justice and employment by the end of this year, Downing Street has said.

“This commission demonstrates this government's mission to level up opportunity for everyone whatever their background. Our expert Chair and Commissioners will make evidence-based recommendations to change lives for the better. Their work will be crucial in informing and improving the national conversation on race,” said UK Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, the sponsoring minister for the initiative.

The government has said the new commission will be supported by the Race Disparity Unit, part of the UK Cabinet Office, which collects and analyses government data on the experiences of people from different ethnic backgrounds.

Its work will be "complemented" by the Windrush Working Group, formed last month to bring together community leaders and government departments to oversee the response to the Windrush immigration scandal which resulted in hundreds being?wrongly told they were in Britain illegally.

by Aditi Khanna

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