Over 100 British MPs, from across the political spectrum, are backing efforts to get Britain’s large Sikh community recognised as a separate ethnic group by Britain’s official statistics body.
A letter to Britain’s National Statistician John Pullinger had garnered signatures from 113 MPs by Tuesday, following community efforts to push for the change, which they believe will improve access to public services for the community, as well as greater acknowledgement of the challenges faced by them.
“A number of issues faced by Sikhs ranging from reporting of hate crimes through to accessing healthcare provision in the U.K. are not receiving appropriate attention by public bodies as they often only monitor ethnic group categories specified in the census,” warns the letter from the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs, which said demand for such recognition was high within the community with over 84,000 Sikhs rejecting existing ethnic group categories, writing in “Sikh” in the space given for “other ethnic groups”.
The current categories for Asian background include Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and Other.
With the legislation for the 2021 census due to go before Parliament next year the next few weeks would be crucial said Davinder Singh, principal adviser for the Sikh Federation U.K., which has long been campaigning on this issue, and which is due to meet with the ONS alongside the APPG on Tuesday.
“This is one issue on which politicians from across the political spectrum seem to agree, and, we can’t understand why the Office for National Statistics won’t agree to something that is a legal right as far as U.K. law is concerned,” he said, noting that the body had passed up an opportunity in the previous census when ethnic groups for Irish Gypsy travellers and Arabs were added, and represented a far smaller section of British society than the Sikh community.