Cllr John Cotton reflects on where we are and what we have to do

Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion and Equalities summed up what we heard at today’s social inclusion summit.

These notes are paraphrased from his speech.

Important to note that the journey doesn’t end today. It’s time to pause, reflect, then take decisions on what to do next practically based on what we’ve learned.

Changing that map of poverty and disadvantage is difficult in good economic times. Even more difficult in recession.

“But to tolerate inequality, low income, educational underachievement – is tantamount to social sabotage.”

Closing the gap of inequality is our aim. Everything we do should be judged  against that aim.

The “doing to” society approach hasn’t worked. It hasn’t changed that map.

Communities need to take control of their own areas. This doesn’t mean communities left on their own with no support – but led by people in communities with support from local authority where it’s required.

We often approach problems asking “what’s wrong with this community?” Wouldn’t it be great to approach problems by asking “What’s right with this community?”

What does being a citizen of Birmingham mean? Let’s have a citywide debate about the values a citizen of Birmingham has – continue the discussion this Fair Brum process has already started.

Recommendations from Fair Brum process will be integral to social cohesion strategy – a city of Birmingham strategy, not a council strategy.

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