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Slavery: Anniversaries

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 7 November 2006, Official Report, column 1007W, to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside, on the slave trade, what funding was allocated to (a) local authorities and (b) local communities or organisations to provide for the commemoration of the abolition of the Slave Trade Act; and if she will make a statement. (198114)

Throughout 2007 the Government worked closely with stakeholders from local authorities, the media, faith groups and the voluntary and community sectors to galvanise activity to mark the 2007 Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. The Government’s approach was not to direct, organise or control commemorations, but to encourage and empower grassroots organisations, local authorities, faith groups and national organisations to mark the bicentenary in a way that was appropriate to their communities.

Heritage Lottery Fund provided funding to support heritage and commemorative projects. In total Heritage Lottery Fund awarded over £15 million to more than 180 projects across the country related to the bicentenary and the slave trade. The funding was provided to a range of organisations including local authorities, community organisations, voluntary groups and cultural bodies. Many of the awards were to Black Voluntary and Community Sector groups. Information on the precise breakdown of the Heritage Lottery funding awarded to local authorities and community organisations is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department for Communities and Local Government also provided funding to support bicentenary-related projects under its Connecting Communities Plus Grants Programme. This funding was exclusively for community organisations—overall 41 organisations received a total of £364,825.92 for bicentenary-related projects.

The Government want to ensure that we continue to mark this important part of our history, therefore their announced on 13 December 2007 that they will, in future, adopt the 23 August—the UNESCO day for the International Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition—as the focal date for national commemorations. Community groups will be able to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund for support for heritage projects linked to commemoration and will also be able to apply to the Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.