Ed Miliband vowed to tackle the “scourge” of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia “head on” as he launched the party’s black and minority ethnic mini-manifesto.
The Labour leader said “huge advances” in equality had been made “but the work is not yet done” as he addressed an audience of Labour supporters in Leicester.
Black young people are twice as likely to be jobless while long-term unemployment has rocketed by nearly 50% under the coalition, according to Labour.
“We are a long way from the equality we need as a country,” Mr Miliband said during the event at the City’s Peepul Centre.
“We are going to look at every aspect of the way government works. We are going to have a race equality strategy for every part of the way government works and we are going to look at those barriers and we are going to break them down.”
He added: “We need to confront the scourge of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia head on with strong action on hate crimes.
“For the first time ever we are going to make sure that when people commit hate crimes they are clearly marked on the criminal records of those who commit them. And, tough new sentencing guidelines which ensure aggravated criminal offences based on hate crime are properly dealt with by the courts.”
The party is fielding 52 black and minority ethnic candidates at the General Election.
Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: “The Tories are failing working people. Long-term youth unemployment among BAME young people has increased by almost 50% in the last five years. And if you’re under 25 and black, you’re twice as likely to be out of work than the national average.
“The Tories are failing to tackle this acute problem and showing complacency towards Britain’s ethnic minority communities.
“We simply cannot afford another five years of wasted talent under the Tories. It is a huge waste of the next generation’s skills, potential and talent and it comes at a huge cost to young black and minority ethnic people, their families, taxpayers and the economy.
“Britain only succeeds when all working people succeed. That’s why Labour has a plan to build an economy that works for ethnic minority families and to tackle race inequality.”