Power to the People - Equality in Newcastle upon Tyne
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Asian business owners are the backbone of our society providing critical community services including taxi’s, takeaways, restaurants and shops, yet they are unfairly treat by Newcastle City Council Regulatory Services.
The systemic and systematic institutional racism that exists can be quickly established by reviewing decisions published by Newcastle City Council on the number of Asians refused licences, investigated, persecuted and prosecuted by Council Officers, in comparison to other members of the community. In certain circumstances if you are Asian you are up to eight times more likely to be prosecuted than British White. This information is readily publicly available and easily validated by speaking with members of the Asian community.
Sadly the Council Executive, Council Cabinet and vast majority of Councillors simply dismiss or ignore the unequal and unfair treatment of the Asian community, even though this problem has been raised on numerous occasions. These shocking issues create divisiveness, polarise communities and create additional societal problems.
A minority of Councillors from the West End of Newcastle recognise, appreciate and acknowledge the issues and have tried to do something about the discrimination. A number of Council Officers do recognise the positive contribution of the Asian Community. However, due to the embedded inequality and Council Officer led approach within Regulatory Services, in running the Local Authority, complaints raised by members of the Asian community are never addressed.
Whilst it is natural for organisations to react negatively to criticism and attempt to brush matters under the carpet, Local Authority Councillors are meant to represent the whole community and Council Officers are funded through taxes paid by everyone including the Asian community. They both have a moral and ethical responsibility to promote equality and fairness.
These challenges aren’t exclusive to Newcastle City Council, racism and unfair treatment of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Community exists across the Public Sector. The Lammy Review (2017) published last year highlighted BAME community members are more likely to get arrested, prosecuted and jailed in comparison to other individuals.
There is a huge focus in tackling gender inequality and there should absolutely be fairer treatment for women, but at the same time we should be addressing race related issues too. This is the year 2018 and not 1918!
Recognising that the Asian Community only makes up less than 6% of the population within Newcastle, it is very challenging for these issues to be taken seriously and something positive done about the discrimination. However, Asians contribute up to four times to the U.K economy – hundreds of Billions of pounds every year. International Students contribute over £200m to the North East economy every year. Where would we be without local takeaways, restaurants, corner shops, taxi drivers, never mind all of the professionals that save lives, create jobs and make an overall positive contribution to the North East and the rest of our country.
We cannot change things alone, please support this petition that asks for an independent enquiry to be established to investigate the institutional racism that exists in Newcastle City Council so that we can create a fair and just society. We hope that we can start to tackle inequality, racism and discrimination and bring the whole community together and focus on creating prosperity for everyone.
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