Immigration Costs – Impact on Black Members standing for Local Council

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2019 National Black Members' Conference
14 September 2018

Conference congratulates UNISON Labour Link for its work in supporting Black activists in standing for elected positions within the UK Labour Party.

Conference notes at the 2013 Census of Local Authority Councillors, there were roughly 20,000 councillors across the UK.

Conference further notes that our elected representatives should reflect the communities they seek to serve, however, within England 85.9 percent of councillors are white with the most recent survey putting the figure at just four percent for Black councillors. This compares to Black people making up 14 percent of the population a gap that is widening as demographics become more ethnically diverse. Operation Black Vote has shown that 25 percent of those within African-Caribbean and Asian communities are not registered to vote and over 50 percent of those who are registered do not use their vote.

Conference acknowledges the barriers that exist to prevent Black people from standing for election and highlights one of immigration status. With the current fee for an indefinite leave to remain application costing £2,389 and a naturalisation application £1,330 increasing on an annual basis above the cost of inflation this is pricing many Black people out of engaging fully in the democratic processes and unable to represent their communities as elected representatives.

Therefore, we call upon the National Black Members Committee to:

1)Continue to work with National Labour Link Committee to provide training and support to Black members seeking to stand as elected representatives at local level as well as at a national level;

2)Work with those organisations who share our values in supporting Black people on these issues;

3)Continue to Lobby the Labour Party through Labour Link on reforming the immigration system to make it a fairer and more equal system;

4)Work across our devolved nations and regions developing local support and mentorship programmes;

5)Continue to lobby the home Office over the unfairness of the current immigration system.