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Diversity lags national average in Devon chamber

Sunday, 11 February 2024 07:56

By Bradley Gerrard, local democracy reporter

DCC HQ County Hall, Exeter (LDRS Will Goddard)

Young and female councillors lag the national average

The proportion of young and female councillors in Devon is lagging the national average.

A new report shows that fewer than a third (30 per cent) of Devon’s county representatives are women compared to the 39 per cent national average.

And while just 3.2 per cent of councillors nationally are under 30, with just one member of that age in Devon, the county is way behind in that measure.

Ninety-two per cent of councillors are white, while 84 per cent describe their sexual orientation as heterosexual or straight, according to a report prepared for the council’s procedures committee.

While the report did not provide a national comparison for ethnicity and sexuality, an independent panel said it had previously raised concerns about the general diversity of the council’s elected chamber.

“The panel has previously been concerned over the gender / age split, demonstrating the need to consider a scheme of allowances to attract a more diverse council for the future,” the report said.

A study by the Local Government Association found that just four per cent of councillors at England’s 2021 elections came from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Similarly, the Local Government Information Unit found that around 96 per cent of all councillors identified as white in each of its six surveys between 2004 and 2018.
 

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