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Row over grant to deter right-wingers

PUBLISHED: 17:45 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:50 12 August 2010

COUNCILLORS have blasted a £12 million of Government spending on stopping white extremism in working class areas as damaging and a waste of money . Bromley council bid for and won part of the grant which aims to curb feelings that immigration has led

COUNCILLORS have blasted a £12 million of Government spending on stopping white extremism in working class areas as "damaging" and "a waste of money".

Bromley council bid for and won part of the grant which aims to curb feelings that immigration has led to competition for social housing and jobs.

But it did not consult the councillors for Cray Valley and Mottingham which were selected in the Government's first wave of an eventual 130 areas before it applied and now one wants his ward removed from the scheme altogether.

Cray Valley East (CVE) councillor Martin Curry's e-mail written to the council on Monday, leaked to the Times, read: "Given the damage that this Government is possibly going to do to community relations in CVE with this proposal, can we get CVE removed from this scheme?

"Also, can I have details of the proposals that were made and the reason why ward councillors were not copied in to the request?"

The Government announced Cray Valley and Mottingham had won the money last Wednesday. It wants it to be used in areas which could be harbouring right-wing potential extremists who feel they have been 'forgotten' by the Government. Making his announcement Communities Secretary John Denham said it would be spent on finding out why people feel aggrieved and would "reconnect them with jobs and tackle the real and perceived sense of unfairness some people are feeling."

Cray Valley West councillor Colin Willetts admitted there was a casual racism in his ward but said it was not extreme.

He said: "I get comments like 'oh there's a black family moving in' or 'there's a Muslim family'. It's not extreme though.

"There is a problem with the housing perceptions. People think ethnic minorities are getting pushed up the list. They think there is preferential treatment."

Bromley council said: "This is an opportunity to build on the extensive work already taking place in Cray Valley and Mottingham, which includes expanding services and facilities with our partners at the council's well-established community outreach centres in these areas, as well as continuing to work with employers and businesses and provide various youth initiatives.

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