Eastern Eye (UK)

British Asians ‘punching well above their weight’



CABINET minister Grant Shapps had words of praise for Asians settled in the UK, saying they had reached levels of success quicker than others, including his own Jewish community.

“I think the sheer dynamism and the talent of the British Asian is truly inspiring,” said Shapps, who was the chief guest at the GG2 Leadership and Diversity Awards last Tuesday (7).

“The community only represents about 10 per cent of the UK population but punches well above its weight with the economy and doing things which has taken others, including my own Jewish family’s generation, more generation­s to achieve the same and even greater levels of success. You are collective­ly smashing through the so-called glass ceilings.

“The GG2 Power List demonstrat­es this with profiles on 101 of the most influentia­l British south Asian families. And that list celebrate success and it serves to inspire the next generation­s who are coming behind.”

Shapps reflected on prime minister Rishi Sunak’ achievemen­ts, on whose behalf he collected the GG2 Hammer Award. He said Sunak had broken the ‘ultimate glass ceiling’ and paid tribute to the country for embracing their first British Asian leader.

“His (Rishi Sunak’s) appointmen­t as prime minister was a moment of great pride not just for the whole of the British Asian community, but actually for the whole British nation.

“I’ll never forget the day it, was during my brief six days as home secretary.

“I was on the Today programme and interviewe­r asked me a question, which has stuck in my mind to this day.

“The question was, ‘isn’t it a remarkable day that we can see the first British Asian prime minister in this country?’

“And my response was ‘no’, because although that fact in itself is important, the amazing thing is it’s happened without comment or much commentary from people.

“The very fact that it’s not exceptiona­l in itself is exceptiona­l. I don’t think any other country on this earth would have achieved what we have done collective­ly. It showcases that there are no barriers to achieving your potential in this country.

“We can be incredibly proud of how inclusive we are in this country. [That] someone like me of Jewish heritage can be in a cabinet with a British Asian prime minister, in the middle of a city with a British Muslim mayor [Sadiq Khan], in a predominan­tly Christian country, is – you have to admit – an incredible British achievemen­t.

“This diversity means we have never been stronger than we are, and in many ways we are the envy of the world.”

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