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White teenagers are far more likely to smoke than their minority ethnic counterparts, Roma children are falling well behind their peers at school and black men face the highest likelihood of being found guilty in court.

Those are just some of the issues that will be highlighted in a government audit on race equality that will reveal deeply ingrained disparities across the country when it is published on Tuesday.

Much of the data shows disadvantage for black and ethnic minority communities, and there is a postcode lottery in school performance.

But it also makes clear that among the poorest children in the country, white British pupils do worst at school. Among that group, just 32% reach the expected standard of reading, writing and maths at 11.

Theresa May has said she wants the findings – which shine a light on vastly different experiences for ethnic groups in Britain’s schools, workplaces, hospitals and justice system, and reveal huge regional disparities – to reveal “uncomfortable truths”.

She said: “People who have lived with discrimination don’t need a government audit to make them aware of the scale of the challenge. But this audit means that for society as a whole – for government, for our public services – there is nowhere to hide. These issues are now out in the open. And the message is very simple: if these disparities cannot be explained then they must be changed.”

Communities secretary Sajid Javid the data would not provide the answers to why disparity existed, but said the government wanted to work with outside groups to come up with ways it could tackle the injustice.

“We are not pretending today we are sitting here with all the answers, some of them might have a rational explanation but others will require action,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today. “There are hundreds of thousands of Pakistani or Bangladeshi women who don’t speak proper English or hardly speak it at all.

To read more on the Guardian website please click here

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