Community Relations

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 13th January 2009.

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Photo of Paul Goodman Paul Goodman Shadow Minister, Communities and Local Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which grievances referred to on page 36 of the report The Prevent Strategy: A Guide for Local Partners in England published in June 2008 resonate most at (a) a local level and (b) a regional or national level; and which local authorities are most affected.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security)

I have been asked to reply.

There is no common hierarchy of grievances at local, regional or national level. And hierarchy is difficult to discern when localised grievances such as socio-economic issues are bundled into a single narrative with national issues about Government policies and international issues such as foreign policy.

As "The Prevent Strategy: A Guide for Local Partners in England" makes clear on page 70

"...real or perceived grievances may develop about aspects of Government policy (particularly foreign policy), discrimination or racism, lack of social mobility, perceived mistreatment in the criminal justice system and counter-terrorism measures. Perceptions of distorted media representations of communities or conflicts are also relevant. A shared sense of grievance locally, nationally and internationally may reinforce group identity."

Many people express grievances. But only a tiny minority choose to use them to justify violence, often prompted by radicalisers who exacerbate and selectively exploit grievances to recruit people to their cause. This is why the Prevent strategy aims to address grievances as one of its core elements. Where grievances have substance government should explain its position clearly, setting out what action might already be undertaking. Where concerns arise from misunderstandings or genuine differences of opinion then clarification and openness are equally important. But where there is distortion or fabrication of the Government's position then we need to say so, firmly.

Research into grievances is ongoing and we are encouraging local authorities, through engagement and research, to gain a better understanding of those grievances which resonate most in their communities.

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