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£1.5 million agreed to tackle racial inequality

Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Inequalities Commission action plan Oct 2021

£1.5 million action plan approved

Tower Hamlets’ commitment to be an anti-racist and more equal borough has taken a huge step forward with a £1.5million funding package and detailed action plan to move ahead with the work of its Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Inequalities Commission.

The Tower Hamlets Cabinet decision on Wednesday 27 October takes the total agreed funding package to £1,582,691. The investment is believed to be one of the biggest made by a local authority to tackle racial inequality. It will be used in partnership with local residents and partner organisations with a focus on health, education, employment and community leadership.

Among the key targets for delivering lasting change are:

  • more residents from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are in community leadership roles and influencing decision making
  • improved access to health and care services for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic residents, including a focus on digital exclusion and other barriers
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children and young people have improved confidence and access to the jobs that meet their educational attainment
  • young people have access to mentoring schemes and a curriculum which reflects a greater understanding of race and racial inequality
  • increased numbers of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff in senior roles across key public and community organisations in Tower Hamlets
  • race inequality is actively discussed and addressed at all levels and forums in the borough.

Councillor Asma Begum, Commission Chair and Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth Services, Education and Equalities said:

“I’m delighted to see that efforts to tackle long standing racial inequalities will receive a massive boost with the agreement to implement our detailed action plan, backed up with more than £1.5million to deliver on the ambitious targets we have set.

“We can be proud to be making such a significant funding commitment which will go hand in hand with a relentless focus on addressing the issues that continue to limit opportunities for many of our residents.”

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: 

“Our approval for the Commission’s next stage action plan and funding recognises the scale of the work we need to do with our partners to tackle structural inequality within Tower Hamlets.

“I’m grateful to all the local residents, expert witnesses and representatives who actively engaged with the Commission and it’s important that we have listened to what you have told us. It’s very clear that there is real need for change, and we have a shared challenge to address the issues that many people in our borough continue to face in their everyday lives.”

The full breakdown of how the funding will be spent is available to see in the Cabinet report. It includes £500,000 towards tackling health inequalities, more than £170,000 for community leadership programmes, £318,000 to support children and young people, and £200,000 towards a range of employment initiatives.

Members of the Tower Hamlets Partnership, which includes representatives from the key local organisations, have committed to sign up to the Tower Hamlets anti-racist pledge by the end of 2021, alongside the set of measures within the action plan.

A new Tower Hamlets Race Equality Network is leading on delivering the changes and ensuring that all local partners keep to their agreed targets.


The Commission started its work in September 2020 following the tragic killing of George Floyd and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, including a number that took place in Tower Hamlets.

The issue of racial inequality was further highlighted by the disproportionally negative impact of Covid-19 on people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. This was reflected in the number of people becoming serious ill and dying of the disease.

The Commission heard from residents, expert witnesses, members of various professions, young people and community groups. Through smaller private meetings and online consultation people were encouraged to share their lived experiences and ideas for making positive and tangible changes.

The Commission’s full report was released in March and is available to view on the dedicated webpage www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/raceinequalitiescommission

The webpage includes a link to support the Tower Hamlets anti-racist pledge, as well as further details about the Commission including information on the Commissioners, a recording of the report launch event, and recordings from the four public evidence gathering sessions that took place.

Posted on Friday 29th October 2021