Agenda item

Non Cabinet Members' Debate

To enable non Cabinet Members to debate an issue of relevance to Brent for which notice has been provided in accordance with Standing Order 34 and to receive reports from Cabinet members on issues previously raised.

Decision:

The following motion was agreed as an outcome of the non-cabinet member debate:

 

The Government has now recognised the contribution of the Windrush generation and has established a national Windrush day for 22nd June in Britain’s calendar. This means that there will be a lasting memory of the Windrush Generation in perpetuity.

 

Brent is one of Europe’s most diverse communities and home to many BAME people. It celebrates all cultures equally. Significant talented individuals from families of the Windrush generation have grown up in Brent. They have excelled in their respective fields of sport, health, politics, the arts, science and technology and much much more. I believe that we should be celebrating the fact Brent is well known for its cultural diversity. We have an opportunity to put on an exciting event in 2020 as we celebrate being the Borough of Culture.

 

But the Council should not just stop at the 2020 celebration. It should be celebrating the pioneers from the Windrush generation every year to make sure that it has a lasting legacy. This is to make sure that we remember the contribution of their efforts to rebuild Britain after the Second World War and the fact that the Windrush generation has fully contributed to all aspect of British life.

 

As a result Brent Council agrees the proposal to recognise the contribution of the Windrush generation by:

 

(1)     holding an annual Windrush event on 22nd June every year; and

 

(2)     Proactively supporting communities across Brent to access Government funding to celebrate Windrush annually.

Minutes:

In accordance with Standing Order 34 the Mayor advised that the subject chosen for the Non Cabinet Member debate was on the Windrush generation.

 

Members were advised that the motion submitted as the basis for the debate had been circulated with the supplementary agenda for the meeting and that the time available for the debate was 30 minutes, with any Member wanting to contribute having up to two minutes to speak.  The Mayor then invited Councillor Johnson to introduce the motion, who opened the debate by providing a brief history on the Windrush generation whose contribution, he was pleased to report, had now been formally recognised by the Government in the form of an annual celebration day on 22 June.

 

Whilst recognising the inhumane treatment of many members of the Windrush generation, Councillor Johnson advised he also supported the need to celebrate and recognise the contribution of what he regarded as the pioneers from this generation and wider Caribbean community.  He felt that Brent, as one of the most diverse boroughs and home to many Black and Minority Ethnic communities could be regarded as a benchmark for community cohesion and cultural diversity and was therefore ideally placed to lead on the creation of a lasting legacy focussed not only around the Borough of Culture but also by agreeing to hold its own annual Windrush event to coincide with the national day of celebration on 22 June.

 

In addition, he advised he was also keen as part of a wider approach towards recognising the contribution of that generation and celebrating the boroughs cultural diversity, to proactively support communities from across the borough in seeking to access Government funding to establish their own neighbourhood celebrations.  He therefore urged all members to support the motion put forward for debate.

 

The Mayor then opened up the debate to other Members, with the following comments made during the discussion that followed.

 

Councillor McLennan spoke in support of the motion highlighting her family history and links to the Windrush generation.  Whilst the Government’s recent position had, she felt, been shameful she also agreed with the importance of recognising the significant contribution made by the Windrush generation and wider Caribbean community to all aspects of British Life.

 

Councillor Maurice spoke to highlight the Conservative Group’s support for the motion, recognising what he felt had been the enormous contribution made by the Caribbean community to the country.  He also felt it was important for the Council to ensure that those individuals who continued to affected by the recent problems were referred to the Home Office Compensation Scheme for support.

 

Councillor Patterson, in highlighting his family’s connection to the Windrush generation advised he had been shocked when learning about how members of that original community had been treated.  In supporting the motion, he hoped that the Government would take opportunity to learn from its mistakes in relation to how members of the community had been treated.

 

Councillor Mitchell Murray also took the opportunity to highlight her personal family history and experience as original members of the Windrush generation whose treatment, she felt, had been a scandal.  Recognising the endemic nature of racism faced by members of the original community after they had arrived in Britain she felt there was no room for complacency in terms of the current treatment of different communities in such a diverse borough as Brent and as such also advised she was strongly in support of the motion.

 

Also speaking in support of the motion, Councillor Shahzad highlighted what he felt was the pressing need to ensure that those directly affected by the Windrush scandal were fully compensated by the Government and for lessons to be learnt moving forward.

 

As a final contribution to the debate, Councillor Daly outlined how she was still involved supporting a number of residents directly affected by the Government’s recent handling of the issue.  She also felt there was no room for complacency when tackling racism and supported the need to recognise as a lasting legacy the contribution which had been made by members of the Windrush generation both within Brent and across the country as a whole.

 

As no other members had indicated they wished to speak the Mayor then invited Councillor Muhammed Butt, as Leader of the Council, to sum up and close the debate.

 

Councillor Butt began by thanking Councillor Johnson for putting the motion forward for debate along with.  Whilst recognising Brent’s diversity and the contributions made by all communities across the borough he advised that he was keen to ensure that the specific contribution made by the Windrush generation and Caribbean community more generally within Brent and across the UK was properly recognised and was therefore fully supportive of the motion.  Commenting on wider concerns raised relating to the Government’s handling of the issue he shared the frustration that implementation of the Home Office Compensation Scheme appeared to have stalled and called for this to be expedited as a matter of urgency in order to ensure those requiring support received the necessary assistance as quickly as was possible and ended by to recognise the contribution from

 

As an outcome of the debate Members therefore unanimously RESOLVED to approve the motion (as set out below):

 

“The Government has now recognised the contribution of the Windrush generation and has established a national Windrush day for 22nd June in Britain’s calendar. This means that there will be a lasting memory of the Windrush Generation in perpetuity.

 

Brent is one of Europe’s most diverse communities and home to many BAME people. It celebrates all cultures equally. Significant talented individuals from families of the Windrush generation have grown up in Brent. They have excelled in their respective fields of sport, health, politics, the arts, science and technology and much much more. I believe that we should be celebrating the fact Brent is well known for its cultural diversity. We have an opportunity to put on an exciting event in 2020 as we celebrate being the Borough of Culture.

 

But the Council should not just stop at the 2020 celebration. It should be celebrating the pioneers from the Windrush generation every year to make sure that it has a lasting legacy. This is to make sure that we remember the contribution of their efforts to rebuild Britain after the Second World War and the fact that the Windrush generation has fully contributed to all aspect of British life.

 

As a result Brent Council agrees the proposal to recognise the contribution of the Windrush generation by:

 

(1)     holding an annual Windrush event on 22nd June every year; and

 

(2)     Proactively supporting communities across Brent to access Government funding to celebrate Windrush annually.”

 

Following on from the motion having been agreed, Councillor Choudhary asked the Mayor if it would be possible to consider extending its scope to also refer to all communities from the commonwealth.  In response the Chief Executive advised that as the motion had now been agreed no further changes could be considered at the meeting with any request for a wider discussion therefore needing to be bought forward to a future meeting.

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