‘BME communities must have role in rebuilding public trust in the political process’ – housing association CEO

Lee Bloomfield, Chief Executive, Manningham Housing Association

The chief executive of Bradford-based Manningham Housing Association (MHA) has called on politicians to fully involve BME communities in the task of rebuilding public trust after the General Election.

Lee Bloomfield, who has headed MHA for almost two years, also insisted that policy commitments must be seen to be kept by the new Government – particularly on housing.

Mr Bloomfield said: “I accept that election campaigns are abrasive, but the past few weeks have been especially antagonistic.

“Whatever the outcome on 12 December, it is surely incumbent upon the new Government to represent the interests of all communities and ministers must stick to their policy pledges.

“Nowhere is this important than in relation to housing where BME communities still face considerable disadvantage.

“It remains the case that BME households are more likely to experience overcrowding, poorer quality housing and fuel poverty.

“It is also more common for BME families to live in the most deprived neighbourhoods and in rented properties rather than owning their homes.

“BME communities must have the same opportunity as everyone else to benefit from the exciting new world that the political parties claim they will deliver for voters.

“According to Ipsos MORI, only 53 per cent of BME voters turned out at the 2017 General Election with 64 per cent of white voters choosing to do so.

“This should be seen by politicians as a chance to engage with BME voters and properly involve BME communities in rebuilding public trust in the political process.”

Mr Bloomfield highlighted a new mission statement published by BME National, a collective of more than 45 BME housing associations, which identifies four areas where Government action would improve the quality of life for BME citizens.

He said: “Working with colleagues on the BME National Executive Group, a list of policy asks were drawn up under four headings – ageing well, ending homelessness, equality of opportunity, and thriving and diverse cities.

“We also outlined precisely how BME housing associations could play an active part in helping the new Government to deliver these policies.

“It must be a two-way process and we are willing and certainly able to roll up our sleeves and get on with the job in genuine partnership.”

Mr Bloomfield added: “The General Election must be a means to an end, not an end in itself.

“Whichever party or parties emerge as the next Government, they must be prepared to take decisions and address the challenges BME housing associations such as MHA see on a daily basis.

“Politicians must be true to their word and sincere about helping people.

“Only then will public trust return, particularly within BME communities.”

Founded in 1986, MHA manages more than 1,400 homes for more than 6,000 residents in Bradford and Keighley.

More than 80 per cent of MHA residents are of South Asian origin, but the association proudly serves all of those in need.

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