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EXCLUSIVE: May, Corbyn & Cable share their New Years message

MESSAGE: Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

CELEBRATING OUR past while focusing on a strong future

For many of us, the new year is a special time of reflection. It is a chance to look back on the past year and to renew our focus on the challenges and opportunities ahead. This year holds a particular historical significance for the UK’s black British community, as it marks the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the ship Empire Windrush, which docked at Tilbury in 1948.

The Windrush has become a powerful and iconic symbol of the rise of multicultural Britain, and of the enormous legacy of that generation. In the decades since the Windrush generation arrived here, the contributions of UK Caribbean and African communities to our country continue to be seen in every sphere of society – from business, health and education to media, construction and sport.

BAME-owned businesses are a driving force behind the UK’s prosperity and form one of the fastest-growing sections of our economy. There are 16,000 in the capital alone, employing more than 100,000 people and contributing significantly to this country’s wealth.

There is much to celebrate within BAME communities, but I know there are still too many disparities in the way in which people from different backgrounds are treated at all levels of society.

The findings from the Government’s Race Disparity Audit are a vital resource in helping us to challenge – and eliminate – ethnic injustice in all its forms. I want to see Britain as a country which works for everyone – no matter where peo- ple live or which background they are from.

I am confident that the new year will bring greater opportunities to work together, create new possibilities, and build on our collective strengths.

I wish you all a prosperous, healthy and successful 2018.

— Prime Minister Theresa May

Working together to end austerity

BY ANY measure, 2017 was quite a year. Defying all the pundits and their received wisdom, Labour goes into 2018 as a government in waiting. We are taking nothing for granted. But this Tory government is weak, divided and failing the people of our country.

Theresa May is failing to tackle the “burn- ing injustices” she spoke about when she became Prime Minister. She rightly said black people are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system. But she has done nothing about it.

In fact, the disproportionate use of the stop and search is getting worse, not better. The latest figures show black people are eight times more likely to be stopped than white people. The next Labour government will tackle the deep injustice that are holding people back.

We have a severe housing crisis. But the Tories will not fix it because they are in the pockets of rogue landlords and property speculators. We will make sure housing and homelessness are major political issues this year.

In one of the world’s richest countries, it is utterly appalling that the number of people sleeping rough on our streets has more than doubled under the Conservatives. New analysis by Labour, revealed in The Voice, shows that since 2010 there has been a 67 per cent increase in the number of black households classed as homeless. For Asian families, homelessness has doubled.

Tory austerity has hit ethnic minorities, women and disabled people the hardest. None of this inevitable. It is the result of political decisions. Labour will do things differently. We are ready to fight and win the next election, whenever that may be, and form a government that works for the many, not the few.

— Leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn

Diversity is one of our greatest strengths – and we must use it

2017 WAS a difficult year for very many people. Living standards have been squeezed and there is growing hardship for those at the bottom of the ladder, on benefits or in insecure jobs.

Politics has been dominated by Brexit and the prospect of a messy, nasty divorce is
all too real. There was also a snap general election, which brought me back into Parliament after two years of exile.


PICTURED: Vince Cable (Photo credit: https://beta.parliament.uk/media/yBBERkOB)

Having been preparing for a literary tour for my first novel, Open Arms, I suddenly found myself leading the Liberal Democrats.

The election returned 51 non-white MPs, a record number three decades on from the election of Bernie Grant, Diane Abbott and Paul Boateng as the country’s first-ever black MPs. Record though it may be, Parliament still isn’t representative of the country at large.

Only 7.9 per cent of MPs are from the BAME community, against 14 per cent of the UK population. There is a strange anomaly in the law – parties are allowed to select from all-female and all-disabled shortlists to select their prospective parliamentary candidates, but not from all-BAME shortlists.

I have been calling on the Government to close this loophole, so we can have a truly representative Parliament from the next election onwards. Diversity is one of this country’s great strengths.

And the Liberal Democrats will provide strong leadership on this issue to ensure that we take advantage of the diversity this country is lucky enough to enjoy. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

— Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable

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