A third of local councils failing BAME communities

Operation Black Vote (OBV) has revealed ground-breaking research relating to BAME political representation at a local authority level, finding that nearly one in every four councils have no elected representatives from minority ethnic communities.

Analysing 123 ‘Single Tier’ local authorities in England, the research finds that approximately one third 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 six per cent -12 per cent.

Released as political parties prepare for the May local elections, the OBV says the figures show a failure to encourage BAME councillors, which can lead to disharmony and mistrust between communities.

According to OBV, Brighton and Hove city council, which prides itself on its progressive policies, has no ethnic minority councillors despite a BAME population of over 10 per cent. Other authorities to face specific scrutiny include Bracknell Forest borough council in Berkshire, which has no minority ethnic councillors, and Southend-on-Sea borough council in Essex which has 51 councillors, all of whom are said to be from a white British background.

Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote, 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."

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