Review of Peterborough street names and public monuments for racist links to be voted on

A motion has been put forward by Liberal Democrat city councillor Chris Wiggin which will be voted on at Full Council on Wednesday.

The wide-ranging motion seeks to use the momentum generated by the Black Lives Matters movement following the killing of George Floyd which sparked widespread protests, including in Peterborough.

Campaigners have also called for the removal of statues of individuals who are deemed to have racist links. Most noticeably this saw the toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol.

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Hundreds joined the #BlackLivesMatter protest in Peterborough. Picture by David Lowndes

A number of councils have pledged to review their statues and monuments, and Cllr Wiggin, member for Hampton Vale, is calling for Peterborough to follow suit.

His motion calls for Peterborough City Council to: “conduct an audit of street names and any public monuments or other buildings this council is responsible for which name individuals or organisations, to review any that have racist links.

“Upon completion, the relevant scrutiny committee to convene a task and finish group to review this list and produce a set of recommendations back to council on any actions that should be taken.”

Cllr Wiggin said BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) people are 54 per cent more likely than white people in the UL to be fined under the coronavirus lockdown laws, and that around two-thirds of healthcare staff who have died as a result of Covid-19 are from a BAME background, despite making up 20 per cent of the overall workforce.

He said: “Racism in all forms, both structural and in individuals, continues to be a serious and often unseen problem in the UK.

”Although progress has been made in combating racism, work to eradicate it entirely is far from complete.

”This council, representing people in Peterborough, has a duty as a public leader to actively lead that work.”

His motion also calls for the council to convene a Task and Finish group to review BAME issues. This includes:

. Reviewing and examining the council structure to ensure ethnic minorities are not disadvantaged

. Understanding how many BAME people it employs, where they are working and whether a ‘name blind’ recruitment process should be introduced

. Reviewing corporate policies so that anti-racism is explicit and not implied

. Monitoring statistics on how the BAME community is being impacted.

The motion also calls for the council to:

. Reaffirm its support for annual events celebrating Black History Month

. Ensure Peterborough schools include BAME history and culture in lessons, including providing “further historical context for events normally only seen through the lens of white British history”

. Asking the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to produce a toolkit for businesses to help broaden their understanding of race inequality in the workplace

. Writing to Peterborough’s two MPs to ask that “rather than spending money on another race inequality review, that the Government implements recommendations of previous reviews – for example the Lammy and Windrush recommendations.”

The meeting is being held from 6pm and can be viewed online.

Peterborough Telegraph