It is very difficult to have a reasonable conversation about migration. The dominant narrative is extremely negative. Polls suggest seventy per cent of people in the UK believe there is too much immigration. However, if you ask people if they have had direct problems as a result of immigration, this figure plummets to around twenty per cent. We need to change this narrative and show that migration is an essential part of the future. Making migration work is critical to building a dynamic society and economy.
One North West and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration have started this conversation about migration and a paper will be out shortly.
Where is the local evidence?
One major issue that emerged was the absence of local evidence within national policy design and the wider narrative around migration. Local perspectives will allow a more nuanced and effective approach, which can lead to practical solutions for our communities.
If the government is serious about de-centralisation, then local evidence must surely be crucial to migration policy. The Migration Advisory Committee, which provides the evidence that supports government policy, is based upon large quantitative statistics, which can obscure what is happening at a local level. It seems as though local evidence is currently being overlooked.
For example, by 2016 the Government's new strategy on migration includes an attempt to 'break the link between employment and long-term settlement'. This neglects the regional dimension and the adverse impact this policy will have.
North/ South divide
The wage threshold of £35,000 is clearly much less common in the North of England. Therefore, many young, skilled and dynamic people will not settle in our region and will re-migrate to the South. This is a problem for the Northern skills base and the long-term viability of the labour market, which has already experienced huge difficulties due to the government's actions of 'rebalancing the economy'.
We must be clear about the impact that government policy is having upon our local economies. We must also develop a robust evidence base to drive locally informed policy and contribute towards a more reasonable narrative that challenges often uninformed rhetoric and policy from national government.
An inter-agency approach
Much of this local evidence can be provided by our rich and diverse voluntary and community sector (VCS), which is often working on the front line with migrant communities. VCS groups have a vast amount of knowledge, experience and insight into the needs and capabilities of our new and emerging communities.
However, the VCS shouldn’t try to do this alone. It needs to be inter-agency and interdisciplinary, bringing together key partners from the public sector, universities and the private sector to develop evidence and fresh policy thinking in order to contribute towards building a more dynamic and resilient society and economy in the North.
In April 2012, the Department forCommunities and Local Governmentpublished a ‘Progress report by the ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers'.
Gypsies and Travellers experience, and are being held back by, some of the worst outcomes of any group across a wide range of social indicators. In November 2010, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government set up a ministerial working group to tackle these issues, bringing together ministers from seven Government departments.
This progress report includes 28 commitments from across Government that will help mainstream services work more effectively with the Gypsy and Traveller communities.
Click here for details
‘Secularism, Racism and the Politics of Belonging' was published by Runnymede in April 2012.
The publication, edited by Nira Yuval-Davis and Philip Marfleet,is a collection of papers that were presented at conferences in 2010 and 2011 co-organized by the Runnymede Trust and CMRB – the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London. The contributors address issues of migration, racism and religion.
In April 2012, brap published ‘Interculturalism. A breakdown of thinking and practice: lessons from the field'.
After 60 years of community relations policies— from assimilation, to multiculturalism, to community cohesion, to a new, Big Society approach— are we anywhere nearer to solving the problems of integration? And while we're at it: what actually are the problems associated with integration?
This new report explores these ideas and more. Based on recent research into the frontline activities of organisations involved with the Awards for Bridging Cultures, the report looks at:
We welcome the Government's update on the Open Public Services White Paper and the decision to look at ways in which public services can be better linked to individual choice.
The recent research by VSNW and CLES identified that there has been significant shortcomings in the way that public service reform has so far sidelined equality. It finds evidence of 'the stripping away of specialist services, governance mechanisms and knowledge, leaving demonstrable growth in inequality as opposed to equality of opportunity'. It evidences the fact that public service reforms are being drawn up with little consideration of their impact on society's most vulnerable.
The annoucements of a new right to choose, making it easier to set up neighbourhood councils and the independent review on how we can extend choice to the most disadvantaged in society are all extremely important and offer a new range of tools for our communities.
However, we must be wary about what we are exchanging here. Are these things taking the place of democractic accountability, of service provision responsive to a diverse range of needs, and is this instead of what we have described as the development of 'small state equalities' that draws on the UK's equalities heritage? The 'supermarketisation' of public services is unlikely to create better public services.
Richard Caulfield, Chief Executive of Voluntary Sector North West (VSNW), said:
"Encouraging a culture of legal redress will not save the state money; it will increase bureaucracy and put choice on the hands of those that can afford a lawyer. Instead of central leadership and new models of local collaboration, the danger is we will get providers with the best in-house legal teams and the best insurance cover. This won't just dismantle the big state, it will take local services away from local people and from those that most need them".
We need responsible reform that makes the best use of all available resources and engages communities - all of our communities - in the way services are designed.
Neil MnInroy, Chief Executive of CLES, said:
"Reform of public services is required. However, any reform process must be responsible, ensuring that negative unintended consequences are kept to a minimum. Our work with VSNW casts a torch onto a reform process, which is starting to have negative effects, and in light of this we wanted to demonstrate that a responsible way forward is possible. I hope today's updated paper represents such an approach".
The Government's integration strategy, ‘Creating the Conditions for Integration' was published on Tuesday 21st February. It does little to address racial inequalities.We want the Government to produce, publish and put into practice a cross-government race equality strategy with clear, measurable outcomes.
•Why a race equality strategy is needed
•What we are doing about it
•What can I do?
Click here to see who has pledged their support
Why is a race equality strategy needed?
Race inequalities still exist
The causes are complex
These inequalities have complex causes, and therefore need tailored and strategic approaches to tackle them – mainstream approaches alone will not solve them. They need a comprehensive, cross-departmental strategy including concrete policy proposals and substantial evidence.
The UN has called for a race equality strategy
In September 2011 theUN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discriminationrecommended that the government develop a race equality strategy in consultation with voluntary sector organisations.
The Government's integration strategy,‘Creating the Conditions for Integration'was published on Tuesday 21st February. This document does little to address racial inequalities.
The strategy presents integration as being a one way process, with an emphasis on adhering to ‘British values' and the social norms of the ‘majority'. It also has little evidence backing up its approach, very few policy solutions and very little focus on race equality. In addition, the strategy fails to consider the benefits of working with BME voluntary and community organisations to promote integration and achieve equality, despite the valuable work they do across the country.
Briefing:Voice4Change England worked with theRunnymede Trustto put together abriefing on the Integration Strategy, signed by 17 other organisations, to raise awareness of our concerns and to call for a race equality strategy.Download briefing.
EDM 2874:Alun Michael MP has tabled anEarly Day Motion on race equalitywhich calls for a cross-departmental race equality strategy with clear, measurable outcomes.
Write to your MP and ask them to:
Click here to see who has pledged their support
As the current European funding period will close at the end of 2013 and the next period will begin in 2014, the consultation about what the next programme of European funds will look like is gathering pace. BIS, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has started the consultation process with an informal consultation that asks for initial views on the various delivery options for the funds in England and is only open for one month.
The funds that this consultation is seeking views on are the European Regional Development Fund (ERDFi), and the European Social Fund (ESFi), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) from 2014-20.
EUi policies for cohesion, rural development, maritime and fisheries each play a significant role in supporting sustainable, environmental, social and economic restructuring across the EU. The purpose of this consultation by the is to elicit views on how the new round of structural funds can best be used to develop and maintain economic growth.
To view the consultation documents please visit:
At Network for Europe we have been gathering views on the current programme and ideas for the new through our various events around the region. We will be putting together a response to this consultation and we are keen to hear from you. Get in touch to let us know how the new round of structural funds can best be used to develop and maintain economic growth.
The deadline for this consultation is 27 April 2012. If you would like to feed in your comments to our response please get in touch with Angeliki Stogia or send your views by 25th April 2012 to Email: email@example.com
If you are a voluntary sector organisation who is planning to submit your own response we would be grateful if you shared your response with us
A Talk by
Professor Louise Edwards
Professor of Chinese History at the University of Hong Kong
Date: Saturday 14th
Time: 12 noon –
Venue: Sheung Lok
Wellbeing Centre, Justin Close, Ardwick, Manchester,
far from the Sugden Sports Centre)
March 1912, women from all over China gathered in Nanjing (the new capital) to
demand that parliament passes women’s suffrage in the new constitution. When
this was refused, some women stormed the Parliament building and smashed
windows…a shocking action in Chinese Society.
1912, there were Women’s Suffrage Societies in most cities in China. Although
these groups were inspired by the British Suffrage Movement, they had a
distinct identity of their own. In 1911, a battalion of women soldiers were
formed from the Women Suffrage Societies and this battalion fought in the
Battle of Nanjing, the decisive battle which led to the collapse of the Ching
dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China. Initially, the new
Republic promised votes for women but as the negotiations around the new constitution
proceeded, conservative forces managed to water down any commitment to votes
the promise of votes for women receded, the fight back began.
We want to
commemorate this action 100 years later and bring to the attention of both the
Chinese and the Western world this long forgotten suffrage movement in China.
is free and has been supported by
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester City Council and Wai Yin Chinese
information, please contact Louise Wong 0161 833 0377.
Free Chinese Buffet.
New independent research now released.
During late 2011 Merseyside Disability Federation commissioned, on behalf of the North West Disability Infrastructure Partnership (NWDIP), a series of facilitated focus groups covering each NWDIP member’s geographical area. The sessions ran in November and December and were designed to:
· develop a narrative of the experience of DPO’s, ULO’s and disabled people from across the North West
· identify opportunities for individuals and organisations to influence local and national implementation and activity
· produce findings to go forward as evidence to the White Paper engagement exercise.
In parallel with the focus groups, information was also gathered more widely through an online questionnaire.
This link will take you to the report and our findings, and includes views and perspectives from all the focus sessions and information taken directly from the online survey: