Cohesion is not just about race - Kemp, 11/06/08
The cohesion agenda is at risk of being hijacked to become a discussion about race and away from wider policy targets and connotations” warns LGA Liberal Democrat Leader, Cllr
He will warn, “Cohesion is not about Muslim extremism, wider issues around the Muslim community or indeed much wider issues about racial problems. These are all part of the issue but should not take away from a Council’s day job which is to develop, build and sustain demographically balanced and cohesive communities. I am as concerned about the ghettoisation of the elderly away from the young or the wealthy away from the poor, both of which have racial elements, as I am about issues of race as a silo based theme.
Our considerations must recognise the way that the official processes of things like planning; distribution of grant funding; and development of targets have made our communities much more fragmented. The post war developments of large council estates on the fringe of town have since been reinforced by points based allocations policies and a massive increase in land values which has meant that social housing developers have only been able to develop social housing in areas which are poor where low land values apply.
Add to that the increased fragmentation of society by wealth with little real movement in earnings and therefore buying power and we see a society in which large numbers of people have ceased to aspire; have ceased to see that they can better themselves and their family; and in which some particular racial groups have become proportionately more trapped.
Councils must be aware of the problems of different groups and the opportunities and threats that such differences provide. But if we attempt to deal with the problems community by community; case by case we will lose sight of the big opportunity to create and maintain multi ethnic, multi age; multi income communities where people choose to live”