Lambeth challenges government over statue and memorial ‘power grab’

16 October 2020

Written by: Lambeth Council

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Lambeth Council has written to the Government calling for an urgent clarification after media reports claimed that Ministers could be set to restrict the power of local governments and their communities in making locally agreed changes to policies around statues and public heritage.

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Lambeth challenges government over statue and memorial ‘power grab’

Councillor Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, who sent the letter, is leading a borough-wide public listening exercise with residents, community and faith-based groups to decide on the next steps to assess and review locations in the borough with historic direct and indirect links to the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonialism.

The move was announced earlier this month, at the start of Black History Month, following concerns raised locally, nationally and internationally by the Black Lives Matter campaign and others.

Cllr Winifred said if the actions proposed by ministers reported in the media are correct, then would represent a “power grab that would override the wishes of local communities” – and a decision that had been made without any consultation or engagement with local authorities.

Cllr Winifred wrote: “The idea that such decisions would be better made in Whitehall without reference to the wishes of local communities is absurd, and I would strongly urge you to ignore these calls to remove the rights of local communities to decide how best our heritage is celebrated.”

To read the full letter see below:

Cllr Sonia Winifred letter to Secretary of State