Andy Burnham
'We have not been good enough at eliminating discrimination, said Burnham

Manchester sets up race equality commission

Sarah Townsend

The combined authority has formed a 24-member panel of experts and leaders representing the city-region’s communities, designed to combat racism and race-related discrimination.

The Greater Manchester Race Equality Panel met for the first time last week, led by Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Cllr Brenda Warrington, executive leader of Tameside Council and portfolio lead for age-friendly Greater Manchester and equalities at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The panel intends to elect a chair, or co-chairs, at a future meeting. It has agreed two areas of work to address in early 2021:

  • Providing insight and input to the Independent Inequalities Commission report into systemic racism in Greater Manchester.
  • Responding to and shaping the planned Race Equality Policing report from Greater Manchester Police – one of the pledges made in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Burnham said: “We have not been good enough making the changes that are needed to eliminate discrimination and ensure fairness.

“This panel will now be a platform to bring about further more substantial change and to turn our words into actions.

“The panel will provide challenge and support so Greater Manchester can achieve its goal of being a place where all voices are heard and where, working together, we can shape our future.”

The panel’s remit will also include studying and proposing ways to address:

  • Educational inequalities and achievement
  • Employment and labour market inequalities
  • Financial inclusion and poverty
  • Hate crime and preventing discrimination
  • Health and wellbeing inequality
  • Housing and homelessness, including hidden homelessness

Warrington added: “The Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement have shone a light on the long-standing inequalities and discrimination that exists in our society.

“We have to do more to increase equity and improve relationships across our communities and with public services.

“This panel will provide valuable insight into our diverse communities and enable political leaders to listen and act in a more targeted way.”

The Race Equality Panel is the latest addition to the mayor’s set of advisory groups. Other panels include the Ageing Hub, Disabled People’s Panel, LGBT Panel and Adviser, Women and Girls Panel, the Youth Combined Authority, and, from next year, a Faith Advisory Panel.

Liverpool, too, has set up a taskforce aimed at eliminating race inequality.

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