June 2022 Newsletter Newsletter

Good and Bad News in Britain – June Update

Good News Britain

  • The Home Office has cancelled its own chartered deportation flight to northern Iraq carrying up to 30 Kurdish asylum seekers, the first flight of its kind for a decade. 
  • Gloucestershire councillors have backed the removal of a 248-year-old statue linked to the transatlantic slave trade. However, the Communities Secretary may block this decision.
  • An All Party Parliamentary Group on Afghanistan Women and Girls was formed in May (but some observers feel this may be too little too late).
  • An LGBT+ themed 50p coin has been unveiled marking the 50th anniversary of the first Pride celebrations in the UK.
  • A survey conducted by Focaldata for the think tank British Future found that around three-quarters of those polled felt that ethnic diversity is a part of British culture rather than a threat to it. This compares with findings from ten years ago when more than half believed diversity undermined it. 
  • Parliament will debate this month whether to include trans people in the forthcoming ban on conversion therapy following a petition which attracted over 144,000 signatures. The NHS, GMC and Royal College of Psychiatrists all oppose conversion therapy in all its forms as ineffective and harmful.

Bad News Britain

  • A survey conducted by Focaldata for the think tank British Future found there are concerns about combatting racism in the UK. A quarter of ethnic minority respondents felt things will worsen over the next decade and less than half felt relations between different ethnic groups had improved in the past decade.
  • A report by the National Foundation for Educational Research on racial equality in education found that six in 10 state schools in England have an all-white teaching staff. It found that teacher training applicants from Asian, black and other ethnic minorities were over-represented in applying for training but that this was not mirrored in the trainees on courses.
  • Research by Oxford University found that candidates with a foreign-sounding name are up to 60 per cent less likely to receive a call-back for a job.
  • Analysis of advertisements used in the 2022 local elections by Reform Political Advertising found that each of the major political parties used a ‘lies for votes’ tactic, using misleading, inaccurate or unsubstantiated claims. It has called for a code of conduct for election advertising to be regulated by an independent body.
  • A poll of 1,500 voters by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that over half supported measures in the Public Order Bill to criminalise the kinds of disruptive protests carried out by Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain.  
  • Research shared by openDemocracy shows that 75 councillors across London’s 32 boroughs also work within the property and development industry, suggesting ‘cronyism’ in the local government planning system.
  • A Freedom of Information request from the Press Association found that, between June 2017 and January 2018, 24,000 attempts were made to access pornography in Parliament.
  • In 2010, Trussell Trust distributed 40,000 food parcels; by 2019, they distributed well over 1.5mn; and the latest figures for 2021/22 show it distributed 2.1mn. The top three reasons for going to a food bank are: low income, benefit delays and benefit changes. One in 7 users are in work.
  • The Foreign Affairs Committee has condemned ministerial and civil service decision-making and lack of planning that led to Afghans who had helped the British being left behind.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a formal investigation into Pontin’s holiday parks, suspecting discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers. Surnames on the list of ‘we do not want these guests’ were Boyle, Delaney, Gallagher, McGinley, McMahon and O’Donnell.