THE UK Government has been accused of using “cherry-picked data” from Scottish studies in order to promote the idea that structural racism does not affect life outcomes across the UK.

The UK Government published its controversial Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report on March 31.

Health experts writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) say that the report is "divorced from reality" and that its attempts to undermine scientific findings will put "lives at risk".

The report claims that, although overt racism exists, there are no systemic disadvantages in the UK against people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

The 258-page report also argues that family structure and social class are the key drivers of life outcomes, saying that people from minority backgrounds often do better than their white peers.

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However, the BMJ piece argues that the report is presenting falsehoods, saying its “methodology and language, its lack of scientific expertise, and the well-known opinions of its authors make it more suitable as a political manifesto”.

The BMJ article takes particular issue with the race report’s 30-page section on health, which concludes: “For many key health outcomes, including life expectancy, overall mortality and many of the leading causes of mortality in the UK, ethnic minority groups have better outcomes than the white population.”

In response to those conclusions, the BMJ article states: “This is not true.” It says: “Empirical analyses show that ethnic differences in health persist even after adjustment for socioeconomic status.”

It goes on: “The 30-page section on health in the report claims to undo several decades of irrefutable peer-reviewed research evidence on ethnic disparities, previous governments’ reports, and independent reviews all reaching similar conclusions: ethnic minorities have the worst health outcomes on almost all health parameters.

“The report’s conclusions, recommendations, and cherry-picked data to support a particular narrative shows why it should have been externally peer-reviewed by independent health experts and scientists.”

The Government’s report uses Scottish studies to reinforce its conclusions, saying data has "shown that life expectancy is generally higher in the larger ethnic minority populations than the majority White Scottish group".

It claims that “life expectancy data for England (where 97% of ethnic minorities in the UK lives) is not yet published”.

Life expectancy, it says, is an important metric as “if it were true that Black and South Asian groups were suffering from systemic racism throughout their lives ... this would be reflected” by the figures.

However, the BMJ article says: “[The commission] cites two reports on life expectancy in Scotland, where only 3% of UK ethnic minorities live.

“The Marmot Review [a 10-year review into life expectancy in England, published in 2020] ... shows that health inequalities have widened overall, life expectancy has stalled, and the amount of time people spend in poor health has increased over the past decade.

“The situation is much worse for ethnic minority groups, who have higher rates of deprivation and poorer health outcomes.”

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The article, published on the British Medical Journal’s website, was jointly penned by three health experts, Dr Mohammad Sharif Razai from St George’s University of London, Professor Azeem Majeed from Imperial College London, and Professor Aneez Esmail from the University of Manchester.

The authors also say that there is “no evidence” for the “genetic risk factors” which the Government report claims sometimes leads to disparities between health outcomes for people from different racial backgrounds.

They claim that the Government report is “divorced from reality”, adding: “Its attempts to undermine the well-established and evidence-based role of ethnicity on health outcomes will lead to a worsening of systemic inequalities putting more ethnic minority lives at risk.”

An Equality Hub spokesperson for the UK Government said the claims in the BMJ article are "incorrect".