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A third of local councils failing BAME communities

DISPARITY: About one third of local authorities have no BAME councillors

WITH JUST a week to go before the local elections, Operation Black Vote (OBV) has launched its research relating to BAME political representation at a local authority level.

OBV looked at 123 ‘Single Tier’ local authorities in England. Single tier local authorities control all of the London Boroughs, several large cities, major regions, and the lion’s share of the UK.

The BAME figures overall tell us the numbers don’t look bad-of the 7306 councillors in the 123 single-tier local authorities, 1026 are BAME.

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. About one third - 40 - of these local authorities have no BAME councillors at all; 28 have none; 12 have one BAME councillor. These councils control areas that have BAME populations ranging from 6% -12%.

Other local authorities that are cause for serious concern are City of Westminster council that has a BAME population of 39% yet only, 7 BAME councillors, representing just 12% of all councillors.

Bromley, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Wandsworth; and Milton Keynes and Reading all have sizable BAME populations, but are extremely poor when it comes to BAME political representation.

Simon Woolley, OBV Director said: “Some of the data makes very depressing reading. The findings appear to show that some local political leaders really don't care about representative democracy. Leaving communities without a representative voice is a recipe for community breakdown and discord."

Ashok Viswanathan, OBV Deputy Director added: “I initiated this report because often local democracy is more important to our day to day lives: from rubbish collections and local education to housing and roads. Without a voice things are done to you, not for you.”

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