District council set to discuss long-debated BAME initiative

Barbara Light

Barbara Light - Credit: Archant

Uttlesford District Council has “finally” reached agreement on taking action for black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Succesful Liberal Democrats in the Stansted wards: (L-R) Alan Dean, Geoffrey Sell, Melvin Caton, Ayu

Succesful Liberal Democrats in the Stansted wards: (L-R) Alan Dean, Geoffrey Sell, Melvin Caton, Ayub Khan. - Credit: Archant

After six weeks of discussions, a cross-party statement has been agreed to initiate actions against racism and discrimination in Uttlesford. The statement is due to be discussed at the UDC meeting on Tuesday, July 21.

Green Councillor Barbara Light, who has been working closely with her colleagues and the Lib Dems for weeks, expressed her delight at Saffron Walden Town Council unanimously passing a motion which will lead to mayor Heather Asker writing to MP Kemi Badenoch and the government on the same topic – and said she invited both Newport resident Samantha Naik and Stansted parish councillor Daniel Brett, who spoke during the July 13 town council meeting, at the UDC debate next week.

The report, which will be discussed, was produced by various party leaders as well as UDC’s Chief Executive Dawn French. It recommends setting out community listening events, an oversight panel, and approval of the joint statement.

Cllr Barbara Light said: “We have finally reached agreement and are hopeful that all councillors will now endorse this. We will be working with the County High because they have expressed interest and with the Uttlesford Youth Council, so that young people can share experiences as well.”

R4U Cllr Louise Pepper

R4U Cllr Louise Pepper - Credit: Supplied by Cllr Louise Pepper

In a statement from UDC’s Green and Liberal Democrat Councillors, Cllrs Melvin Caton, Alan Dean, Paul Fairhurst, Barbara Light, Janice Loughlin and Geoffrey Sell praised the work of Liberal Democrat Councillor Ayub Khan, whom they called a “driving force”.

“We assure our BAME communities that we will do everything within our remit to make this district welcoming and free from discrimination and racism,” they added.

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R4U Cllr Louise Pepper said: “As leader of the Equalities portfolio, it was important that Uttlesford District Council sent out a strong message condemning black injustice and any form of discrimination. We acknowledge that this serious issue needs to be addressed and eradicated.

“Starting with our council members, R4U Councillor Jonathon Toy shared a personal blog that poignantly highlighted the brutal inequalities UK black communities suffer on a regular basis.

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“Cllr Khan and I, along with Cllr Toy, have been working closely together and offering our support to a future independent panel due to be selected, that will focus on Uttlesford’s black and minority ethnic youth and wider community”.

The joint statement can be found here.

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