People from ethnic minority groups could receive additional financial support as a result of government fears they will be hardest hit during the recession.
At Labour's Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic annual general meeting in Leicester, work and pensions secretary James Purnell announced an initiative to ensure that no ethnic minority worker would be "left behind".
Purnell warned that employment levels among people from ethnic minorities fell by 10% in the last recession, and said it was important to ensure such mistakes were not repeated.
"In the past too many were left behind in bad times. Ethnic minority workers suffered most in the Tory recessions," he said.
Mr Purnell said the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had agreed to work with the government to assess whether any groups were suffering disproportionately in the recession, and to advise ministers about corrective measures.
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