Wales is becoming an increasingly ethnically diverse nation and the percentage of population who do not describe themselves as White British doubled from the 2001 to 2011 census. Though people from ethnic minorities are concentrated in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea, they live in each of Wales’ 22 local authorities and are becoming more widely diffused geographically. As such, Wales is a ‘super-diverse’ society with many ethnic groups and no one particularly dominant minority ethnic group, furthermore, there is much differentiation both within and between various ethnic groups in Wales. 

Despite this growing diversity, there is a notable lack of diversity in our political and public life. Currently only 10% of MPs in the House of Commons and around 6% of Members of the House of Lords are from an ethnic minority background, whilst 15% of the UK population is non-white. In Wales, there are three Members of the Senedd from an ethnic minority heritage in the Sixth Senedd – the same number as after the 2016 election. Natasha Asghar MS is the first woman of colour ever to be elected to the Senedd in 2021. This compares to 5.6% of the Welsh population in 2020. In a survey of 9,352 candidates standing for local authority councillor positions, 98% were White British with only 1.8% of ethnic minority heritage.

There are also massive disparities in Black, Asian and ethnic minority representation in the public sector UK wide and in Wales. Across 43 UK Police forces, 6.3% of employees are from an ethnic minority with 3.6% ranked as chief inspector or above. Likewise, across the UK 7% of judges are from are from an ethnic minority background and in Wales only 1% are, as are 8% of teachers. In Wales, ethnic minority representation in the civil service is as low as 2%. In Wales, 4.5% of public appointments and reappointments went to Black, Asian or minority ethnic individuals and there is not a single ethnic minority chair of a publicly appointed governing body in Wales. 

In 2020 Welsh Government launched ‘Reflecting Wales in Running Wales’, a diversity and Inclusion strategy for Public Appointments4 including an action plan to deliver on the strategy. The aim is to see a more diverse public and political life in Wales. 

  • Linus Harrison (he/him)

    Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Mentoring Project Officer

    Linus is committed to creating and developing equity in all areas of society. A former mentee himself, he has gone on to gain two public roles to support inclusion and the fair treatment of diverse groups. Having worked in the third sector, he is currently leading research on making mainstream media more accessible to marginalised people.