Bishop Of Bradford Heading Scheme To Tackle City's Segregation

“Yes Bradford has issues, but I feel Bradford also has answers.”

The Bishop of Bradford is heading up a scheme to reduce segregation in Bradford – but some Councillors have questioned if it is targeting the right priorities.

The Department of Communities and Local Government recently granted Bradford £1.18 million to draw up a range of projects to bring different communities in the district closer together.

Bradford Council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee discussed the strategy and delivery plan for the project at a recent meeting. Although members akowledged that many of Bradford’s communities do live separate lives, it was not the troubling issue many people outside the city think it is.

Bishop Toby Howarth, Chair of Bradford Stronger Communities Partnership told members: “We know central government has its own idea of what stronger communities look like, but in Bradford we have been doing this work a long time. We have ideas that go beyond the remit of what we have been given.

“Yes Bradford has issues, but I feel Bradford also has answers.”

Councillor Simon Cooke (Cons, Bingley rural) said demographics in the city were changing, and successful Asian families were now moving into areas that were once mainly occupied by wealthy white people. He said: “I think when you are talking about segregation you have to talk more broadly. An Asian accountant who lives in Heaton probably has more in common with a white accountant that likes in Ilkley than an Asian person on a low pay in Manningham. Separation of different groups in society is not just about ‘are you black or are you white.’ We have to challenge that national narrative that all segregation is to do with ethnicity.”

Councillor David Green said: “When people have come to Bradford to talk about segregation, they speak to people who often say they are quite happy with the way things are. People wonder why others make a big thing of an area being mostly white or mostly Asian, when the people living there don’t see it as a problem. Problems that people identify in reports aren’t necessarily something that Mrs Miggins has identified as a problem.”

He questioned what could actually be done to make communities more diverse, adding: “A housing provider can’t say ‘You’re a white person, we’ll give you a house in Manningham because we need more balance. We need to think outside the box a bit more.

“This report is a bit of a mish-mash, I don’t see how it will work, and if it does, what it is trying to achieve.”

The committee were told some of the problems that can arise from a lack of mixing between communities.

Ian Day, Assistant Director for Neighbourhood and Customer Services, told members that there were an estimated 24,000 people in Bradford who could not speak English.

A large proportion of these were South Asian women aged between 45 and 64. He spoke of the issues and social isolation that can cause, adding: “If you have to tell a GP about a medical problem then you might have to take a child with you to translate.

“We also want to ask why so many women go to university but then don’t turn their degrees into employment. These are the types of conversations we have probably shied away from having in the past, but this project will help with this.”

Members were told that many people meet people of different backgrounds through work, but when a workforce is monoculture this integration does not happen. This would be another issue the plan will look at.
The committee asked to hear regular updates on the scheme.

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