Jim Knight, Employment Minister, has acknowledged in written answers that the government spent nearly £170,000 of taxpayers’ money, between November 2008 and May 2009, on sending out fake job applications to see if employers discriminated against foreign-sounding names.
Not only is this a substantial sum for a research project, but the findings will be irrelevant due to the entrapment nature of the exercise which unfairly placed businesses in a fabricated position. Civil servants working for the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force (EMETF) sent out applications and CVs to a number of jobs which had been advertised. The imaginary candidates had similar qualifications and experience, but some had Anglo-Saxon and others foreign-sounding names.
Leaving aside the question of whether this kind of project is a worthwhile use of taxpayers’ money, an unelected government body, the EMETF, was tasked with this project rather than the large and expensive Equality and Human Rights Commission. What is the point of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which costs taxpayers £70 million a year? This type of work sounds like it perfectly fits their remit, yet another organization carried out the research, and more importantly, still exists despite its obvious redundancy.