Maria Miller MP has launched a local inquiry into the lived experiences of members of the Basingstoke community who are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

It comes after a number of residents have spoken about the discrimination and prejudice they have faced on the basis of their race.

As reported in last week's newspaper, former town mayor Councillor Dan Putty detailed some of the horrific incidents of racism he has suffered since moving to the town.

In 2003, two councillors said he "couldn't even speak English properly", despite Cllr Putty being fluent in French, Hindi and English.

This inquiry has been launched in response to the events held in Basingstoke to support the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign but seeks to deliberately include all BAME residents.

Maria said, “Having supported the Black Lives Matter event organised earlier this month I want to make sure people living in Basingstoke who have a BAME background have the opportunity to speak about what it’s like to live in Basingstoke. 

"The death of George Floyd has resonated throughout the country and there can be no place for racism in any community.

"Despite having some of the best laws in the country racism and abuse can still happen. Too often that racism can be covered up and hidden from sight. This is an opportunity for people to speak freely, in confidence about their own experiences to help raise awareness and change attitudes and behaviour in the future.”

“I will share these experiences, in an anonymous form, with those responsible for our local public services, those who run local businesses and our community facilities for their response. We will find solutions by working together.”

Effie Grant, local Businesswoman and Organiser of Basingstoke Against Racism said, “I welcome this local Inquiry into the lived experiences of members of the Basingstoke community who are from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.”

“When I moved here in 2008, I hardly saw a fellow black person. There’s certainly more of us now and naturally, I’m especially keen to hear of their experiences which this inquiry will do. It seeks to understand the range of issues faced by BAME people in our community, to help ensure Basingstoke is a great place to live for everyone.”

Arun Mummalaneni Chair of Basingstoke Multicultural Forum welcomed the inquiry, “Like many large towns Basingstoke has a more diverse population than it did ten years ago. The Inquiry seeks to understand the range of issues and faced by BAME people in the constituency, to help ensure Basingstoke is a great place to live for everyone.”

The Inquiry seeks to gather voices of a diverse cross section of individuals from a Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority background who live in the Basingstoke constituency.

The Inquiry will consider the themes that are raised through this evidence and will review the evidence with relevant public and private sector organisations for them to identify a plan to address the issues raised.

A six- and twelve-month review will be done to establish progress on addressing themes identified.