Muslim Council of Britain launches policy pledges ahead of local elections

19 April 2021

Local Elections 2021: Muslim Council of Britain launches policy pledges

Today, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is calling on all prospective candidates running in local elections on the 6th of May to commit to a list of policy pledges to support their local Muslim communities as we begin our recovery from COVID-19.

This set of policy specific pledges builds upon the work of MCB’s Ten Key Pledges to Support Muslim Communities, originally released as part of a campaign to encourage Muslim voter registration ahead of the General Election in December 2019.

Speaking on the importance of candidates for upcoming local elections engaging and listening to Muslim communities, MCB Secretary-General Zara Mohammed, said:

“In addition to contending with pervasive Islamophobia, British Muslim communities have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. From facing evermore profound economic hardship, to contending with a lack of access to healthcare and opportunity, the pandemic has laid bare the stark inequalities that British Muslims continue to navigate. Also, given Muslim communities have the highest proportion of 16-24-year-olds, we hope candidates will pay particular attention to youth issues, tackling unemployment and inter-generational poverty.

“Now more than ever, candidates need to take concrete steps to engage local Muslim communities, listen to their needs and commit to addressing the myriad issues they face.”

The Local Election 2021 Policy Pledges, are built around five key areas of interest and include some of the following points of action:

  1. Tackling Islamophobia

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found 22% of people had negative feelings towards Muslims, and 70% of Muslims reported experiencing religion-based prejudice in 2018. Candidates should recognise the existence of Islamophobia, its manifestations and its damaging impact on communities.

  • Adopt the APPG on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia in your region or area.
  • Commit to proactively engage with a broad and representative spectrum of British Muslim communities to ensure a plurality of views are being considered.
  • Defend the right of Muslims – and people of all faiths – to express their faith. 
  1. Investing in young people

The 2011 Census found that the median age of Muslims is 25 years compared to 40 in the overall population, and that 7.2% of Muslims were unemployed compared to 4.0% in the overall population. Candidates should commit to investing in the future of young people, their wellbeing and their employment prospects.

  • Commit to delivering effective careers advice and mentorship schemes to improve the employment prospects of young Muslims in your region or area.
  • Encourage employers in your region or area to adopt the living wage.
  • Commit to a curriculum that reflects the diversity of all communities in the UK, their histories, and their contributions to the country.
  1. Championing effective equality and diversity initiatives

The 2011 Census, 46% of the Muslim population resided in the 10% most deprived localities, and that Muslims experience an additional disadvantage above their ethnic disadvantages in the labour market. Candidates should commit to effectively promoting social mobility. 

  • Understand and address the reasons for pay disparities – on the grounds of gender, ethnicity or religion – amongst employers in your region or area.
  • Commit to tackling health inequalities in your region or area.
  • Commit to tackling the ‘triple penalty’ Muslim women face in employment – on the grounds of being a woman, from an ethnic minority background and being Muslim.
  1. Tackling the inequalities aggravated by COVID19

Ethnic minorities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID19; by virtue of most Muslims also being from ethnic minorities, it is evident that Muslims are disproportionately impacted. As the UK moves towards recovering from the pandemic, candidates should understand the challenges different communities face and work towards meaningfully addressing them.

  • Work alongside employers in your region and area to develop better ways to protect the health and wellbeing of frontline workers.
  • Promote better access to health services, particularly for members of minority communities.
  • Tackle the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women, particularly by addressing the need for better domestic abuse reporting services
  1. Promoting environmental sustainability

As we focus on the recovery of the economy from the COVID19 pandemic, it is important we do so in an environmentally sustainable and equitable way capable of benefitting current and future generations. 

  • Commit to exploring environmentally sustainable solutions to current and future infrastructure projects in your region or area.
  • Devise an action plan to reduce emissions in your region or area.
  • Incorporate environmental impact assessments into your relevant decisions.

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