Reading Borough Council (RBC) has been criticised for its  black, asian and ethnic minority (BAME) councillor representation.

The council has just six BAME councillors out of 46, or 13 per cent, despite having a 25.2 per cent BAME population, according to Operation Black Vote (OBV) research.

This 12.2 per cent disparity is the 20th highest among the 123 single-tier local authorities in England.

Simon Woolley, OBV Director, said: “Bromley, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Wandsworth, Milton Keynes and Reading all have sizable BAME populations, but are extremely poor when it comes to BAME political representation.

“Some of the data makes very depressing reading. The findings appear to show that some local political leaders really don’t care about representative democracy.

“Leaving communities without a representative voice is a recipe for community breakdown and discord.

“Without a voice things are done to you, not for you.”

OBV is non-partisan political campaigning organisation.

Councillor Tony Page, deputy leader, said: “We have a very high proportion and comparable to most other unitary councils.

“In other larger unitary councils, the proportion is extremely low.

“Reading has absolutely no reason to be defensive. We are always looking to encourage BAME candidates to apply.”

The average councillor in England is 59, white and called David or John, according to BBC research.

Councillor Rob White, leader of Reading Green Party, said: “I would love to see a council that represented the local population.

“I encourage people to get involved with the Green Party or whoever represents your views and put yourself forward for selection.”

Neighbouring local authority Bracknell Forest Council was also criticised by OBV, for having zero BAME councillors despite having a 9.4 per cent BAME population.

Ashok Viswanathan, OBV deputy director said: ‘I initiated this report because it’s so often the local that impacts on our day to day lives: from rubbish collections and local education to housing and roads.

‘Only a strong political voice, alongside social action can bring change.’

96% of councillors are white and two thirds are male according to the Local Government Association’s most recent census in 2011.