Hazel Blears delivers huge rise in community cohesion spending

Local authorities will gain £50m over the next three years to support community cohesion, up from £2m in 2007-8.

In response to the final report, Our Shared Future, from the Commission on Integration and Cohesion (CiC), Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, outlined a 10-point action plan this month.

Over 10 months, the CiC, chaired by Dara Singh, chief executive of Ealing Council, looked at the challenges faced by local communities and published its recommendations in June.

In a letter to Singh responding to the recommendations, Blear outlined key points in the action plan such as new Citizen Days, information packs for migrants, new special integration and cohesion teams, national indicators on promoting cohesion and a new inter-faith strategy.

In particular, Blear will introduce cohesion funding guidance for public bodies in response to the CiC recommendation that found using public money to fund single issue groups, rather than the whole community, was “regressive and divisive”. 

Blears added that the Citizenship Survey, currently carried out every two years, will now be carried out quarterly so that the government has current data on people’s views and experiences.

In January, Blears will send a formal response to the CiC outlining targeted and practical action.

Blears said: “As a government and a country, we must be honest there are issues we need to address as a result of new patterns of migration and ensure that we have the ideas and policies to tackle them over the next 10 years.”

But Voice4Change England, the black and minority ethnic third sector partnership organisation, warned against having an imbalanced approach towards bridging the gap between “arriving communities” and “receiving communities”.

It said there needed to be “equal responsibilities on both [communities] to nurture a culture of tolerance and accept diverse cultures and customs.”

More information

Our Shared Future by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion

Hazel Blears’ letter to Dara Singh

Voice4Change England

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