— Bham City Council (@BhamCityCouncil) June 15, 2016
Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness and Equality, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, on his determination to tackle inequalities in Birmingham.
When I was given the job of Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness and Equality, I talked about my pride in the fact that Birmingham is a fantastic, diverse, tolerant, warm and friendly city that welcomes people from all over the world and helps people celebrate their cultures and beliefs in a way that is second to none.
But, while I firmly believe we live in a tolerant city, I won’t pretend that inequality doesn’t exist. There is still a lot of work to be done and I will stand shoulder to shoulder with individuals, communities and organisations across the city that want to help create a more equal, tolerant and fairer Birmingham.
Addressing inequalities in every single neighbourhood is essential in creating a fair and equal Birmingham. We want Birmingham to be a city of equal opportunity regardless of race, religion sex or sexuality. Equally, your life chances should not be dictated by your postcode.
Last week I visited Kingstanding, where I heard residents feel neglected. That has to change. Every resident needs to feel they have a stake in this city and the only way we’ll achieve that is by addressing poverty and closing the gaps of inequality in the city.
Over the next few months we’ll be developing a 40-ward equality strategy for this city. I will work with partners in communities to ensure that elected members across the city are working to address inequality. I’ll work with ward chairs, district chairs, the soon-to-be appointed assistant leaders and my cabinet colleagues.
To get this right it’s important to:
- Address the needs of inner and outer city neighbourhoods.
- Engage young people to re-imagining their city and neighbourhoods as positive cohesive places to live.
- Develop of a City of Birmingham Equality Strategy that is ward focussed and based on need – short, medium and long term. This strategy must focus on the many not the few.
- Embed equalities in everything we do and assess the impacts of our decisions and services on communities
So I intend to:
- Develop a toolkit for incoming communities – what is our core offer. Provide similar link to isolated communities
- Take forward the recommendations of the Child Poverty Commission
Now I know that words are cheap and I’ll be judged on actions. That’s fine by me. I’m a proud Brummie who wants the very best for this city and I’ll work with individuals, communities and politicians from all parties to tackle inequality.