‘No place for racism’ - council makes pledge after Black Lives Matter campaign

A Black Lives Matter Protest at the Forum in Norwich. Pic: BRITTANY WOODMAN

A Black Lives Matter Protest at the Forum in Norwich. Pic: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

The spotlight which the Black Lives Matter campaign has shone on racism has been welcomed by members of Norfolk County Council, as they supported a motion to “tackle discrimination and prejudice” in all its forms.

Todd Cantwell of Norwich celebrates scoring against the FA Cup quarter final against Manchester Unit

Todd Cantwell of Norwich celebrates scoring against the FA Cup quarter final against Manchester United at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

A cross-party motion was backed by all but one of the members of Norfolk County Council at a meeting on Monday, recognising the need of the council to lead by example.

The motion, put forward by Conservative Margaret Dewsbury and seconded by Labour’s Emma Corlett, was the result of parties working together to come up with appropriate wording.

It means the council has affirmed its commitments to “continue work to address disadvantage, promote equality and eradicate racism”.

The council also voted to welcome “the spotlight that the Black Lives Matter campaign has shone on racism” and to recognise that councillors and the council as a whole must tackle racism.

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The authority agreed last year to conduct a review of how the council works and communicates as an organisation to identify any unconscious or structural bias in the system.

Along with staff and councillor training on white privilege and racism, a project to celebrate people from diverse backgrounds who have contributed to Norfolk and act as role models will be worked on.

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Dan Roper, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “I think it’s important to note this should be the start of a process and nobody should sit back tonight and think ‘job done, we’ve passed this motion’,

“What’s important is how we move forwards as a council, engage and listen to our communities about how we tackle the scourge of racism.”

Council leader Andrew Proctor said: “There is no place for any form of discrimination in Norfolk. There’s equally no place for racism in Norfolk or Norfolk County Council.

“It’s also fair to say we need to embrace the work which has got to be done and to lead on it, because there is a lot of work to be done.”

Labour councillor Emma Corlett praised Norwich City Football Club for its support of the Black Lives Matter campaign and player Todd Cantwell for taking the knee after scoring in the FA Cup Quarter Final against Manchester United.

Conservative Claire Bowes, who represents Watton, abstained.

Laptops motion fails

Meanwhile, a motion calling for the council to explore whether to create a not for profit business to refurbish computers to distribute to Norfolk children was lost.

Labour had put forward the motion, saying the 1,800 laptops announced by the government did not go far enough to bridge what group leader Steve Morphew branded as “the digital divide”.

They wanted the council to set up the company so businesses and organisations could donate them, workers would refurbish them and then hand them out to children to support their learning.

But the motion was lost, by 43 votes to 27, with three abstentions. Conservative Tom FitzPatrick, cabinet member for innovation, transformation and performance, said he could not support it as the idea had not been costed and could “fall flat”.

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