Council commits to tackling all forms of discrimination
On 19 January 2021 the council approved the following motion underlying its commitment to a fairer society for all.
We at Luton Council accept and step up our action to be the Leader of Place within Luton to tackle all forms of discrimination and to address the historic structural and systemic racism that exists.
We cannot change the past; however we can accept and publicly acknowledge the African Holocaust that was done to those of African Heritage by the Transatlantic Enslavement and then the colonisation of Africa as a result of the Berlin Conference of 1884 which laid the foundations of British and Western nations’ wealth.
This year, Luton Council formally supported young people and their stewards in holding a peaceful and respectful Black Lives Matter demonstration at the Town Hall and showed civic and community leadership by lighting the Town Hall up in purple in response to international events.
On 22 June 2020 on National Windrush Day we raised the Windrush Flag with other UK Local Authorities to remember and celebrate the significant contribution and sacrifice the Windrush Generation and their children made to leave their homes of origin to rebuild Britain after the Second World War - where many from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean served with Britain’s allies, without proper acknowledgement until recently. The raising of the Windrush Flag will now be an Annual Civic Event for Luton.
Building upon the above, the establishment of the Luton 2040 Board to oversee the implementation and delivery of the strategic priorities of the Council’s vision for Luton 2040 and its agreed outcomes, we will do the following:
- Implement the Council’s policy of ensuring that equality, diversity and inclusion is a core Council business including compulsory training on unconscious bias and the elimination of overt and covert discrimination for all officers, staff and members involved in recruitment, retention and promotion;
- Ensure that the number of Black staff/officers at all levels of the council is not disproportionately reduced in any future restructuring and that there is an improvement of year on year of 2 per cent eventually resulting in Luton Council reflecting at all levels the community it serves;
- Work with employers at the Airport to encourage greater representation in all new high paid roles from the black communities and that at all levels the Airport reflects Luton’s diversity;
- Work with employers at the Airport to achieve the objective of 50 per cent of jobs at all levels at the airport are filled by Lutonians – ensuring via Luton 2040 strategic priorities our stated objective that by 2040 no-one in Luton has to live in poverty;
- Ask LLAL to seek to ensure equity for Black businesses in their corporate sponsorship, advertising and contracts with ancillary businesses; and that its community funding policy clearly sets out the expectation that its funding will be administered so as to adequately and proportionately support groups addressing issues pertinent to Black communities, such as Windrush;
- Work with other local authorities like Liverpool, Bristol, Hackney, Lambeth, academies, schools and multi-academy trusts to reduce levels of disengagement by Black children with the current curriculum and resulting high levels of exclusion, by making it accessible for their academic as well as their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (Articles 27, 29 and 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child), through working with organisations such as The Black Curriculum;
- Work with the Black community to promote access to employability, enterprise and training for young Black people, traditional disadvantaged in education and the job market as a result of racial discrimination, to be achieved through a sustainable culturally relevant programme that build on the Council’s skills and opportunities programmes;
- Engage with any future Government commission on racism in the UK, but also resolve to lobby the Government to implement outstanding recommendations in: the Lammy Review (2017), the Dame Angiolini Report (2017), the Windrush Lessons Learned Review (2018), the McGregor-Smith Review (2017) and the Macpherson report (1999);
- Acknowledge the UN resolution 68/237 International Decade for People of African Descent, implement initiatives and activities to raise awareness, educate on the history of people of African descent, and promote their contributions to contemporary societies;
- To report back annually and publicly to Full Council, and ask LLAL to report publicly on an annual basis, on progress achieved in relations to the above.
The motion highlights ongoing commitments, and acknowledges that Black people are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, that Black children have rates of permanent exclusion about three times that of the pupil population as a whole, and that a recent Public Health England report found that the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID- 19.
In taking the above actions, Luton Council seeks to move towards being seen as fully culturally competent by and in relation to the communities affected by the many issues highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Signed: Councillor Hazel Simmons
Date: 6 January 2021