Town hall chiefs from across the country and political spectrum have backed the Board of Deputies’ Jewish Manifesto for Local Government and its Ten Local Commitments.
The Ten Local Commitments summarise the manifesto and include support for the full International Holocaust Remembrance Association definition of antisemitism, faith-sensitive coroners’ services and specialist Jewish social care services. You can read the full Manifesto here.
Leading councillors who have backed the Ten Local Commitments include:
- Barnet Council Leader Richard Cornelius (Conservative)
- Bury Council Leader Rishi Shori (Labour)
- Harrogate Council Leader Richard Cooper ( Conservative)
- Islington Council Leader Richard Watts (Labour)
- Manchester Council Leader Sir Richard Leese (Labour)
- Wandsworth Council Leader Ravi Govinda (Conservative)
- Liverpool Mayor Malcolm Kennedy
- Barnet Labour Group Leader Barry Rawlings
- Tower Hamlets Conservative Group Leader Peter Golds
- Stockport Liberal Democrat Group leader Mark Hunter
- Manchester Liberal Democrat Group leader John Leech
The Chair of The Local Government Association Conservatives, David Simmons CBE, said:
“Councillors and candidates alike will benefit from reading the manifesto and local commitments. Local councils are the bedrock of local communities and understanding the needs and expectations of our Jewish residents is a vital part of serving all of our people effectively.”
The Chair of the Local Government Association Labour, Cllr Nick Forbes, said:
“It is encouraging that the Board of Deputies are recognising the importance of engaging with local authorities by putting together a manifesto that makes a wide range of recommendations relating to Jewish communities all over the country.
“These recommendations relate to issues including social care, community cohesion, education and planning, which are important issues across all of local government. I look forward to seeing how Labour in local government can continue to work with the Board of Deputies to make sure that Jewish voices are listened to in our communities.”
The Chair of the Local Government Association Liberal Democrats, Cllr Howard Sykes MBE said:
“I am delighted that Liberal Democrat candidates have backed the Board of Deputies Ten Local Commitments as part of their Jewish Manifesto for Local Government. I am proud to say, that I enacted many of the recommendations now included in the Manifesto when I was Leader of Oldham Council.”
The Ten Local Commitments are:
Oppose antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred and all forms of racism. Adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism and its appended examples to provide guidance to elected officials and public servants about this persistent form of prejudice.
- Make resources available to promote good interfaith and intercommunal relations and joint social action projects.
- Take care not to exacerbate communal tensions over conflicts in the Middle East. Promote reconciliation projects to unite communities and oppose boycotts that divide communities.
- Promote rigorous Religious Education about Judaism and other faiths and support Jewish schools where they exist in your local authority area. Assist children who wish to access Jewish schools in other local authority areas, especially where they wish to do so for culturally-sensitive SEN provision.
- Help to secure adequate financial and other support for specialist Jewish care providers where they exist in your local authority. Where they do not, ensure that residents who wish to be able to access these specialist services in other local authority areas can be funded to do so.
- Support the needs of diverse communities in public health and related provision. For example, when appointing coroners, stipulate that they should be prepared to offer an ‘out of hours’ service and minimally invasive autopsies to ensure quick burials when required by faith communities.
- Ensure that local planning guidance and procedures can help facilitate the development of Jewish communities, such as the construction or expansion of synagogues, Mikva’ot (ritual baths) or eruvs (see definition on page 23) where these are requested by the local Jewish community.
- Ensure adequate provision of housing, taking into account larger families, first-time buyers and vulnerable members of the community in need of culturally and religiously appropriate sheltered accommodation.
- Celebrate local Jewish culture and heritage by holding civic events with the Jewish community, supporting the preservation of historic synagogues and cemeteries, and contributing to Jewish cultural projects and institutions.
- Pay attention to the needs of smaller Jewish communities, who may feel especially vulnerable to increases in anti-Jewish rhetoric and need particular support to promote viable, ongoing Jewish life in their areas.