Lloyd’s of London to pay £52m after apologising for slave links
LLOyD’S of London is to invest £52 million in racial equality projects to make up for its ‘significant role’ in the slave trade.
The world’s largest insurance market said the decision comes after an 18month review by Johns Hopkins University found that it was ‘quite central’ to the ‘maintenance’ of slavery.
Lloyd’s said £40million will go to communities in parts of the world affected by slavery, while £12million will be invested in a programme supporting the recruitment and progression of black and other ethnic minority employees.
Founded in 1688, Lloyd’s covered the largest slave ship owners, even insuring slaves as cargo. It also campaigned against the abolition of the trade, dealt in risk policies for slave uprisings and referred to human beings as ‘goods’ valued at ‘£45 each’.
A ledger dating back to 1807 revealed that one member, Horatio Clagett, had insured nearly 60 slave voyages in the final year of the trade being legal. Three years ago, the company apologised for its role, admitting it had acted as the ‘global centre for insuring that industry’.
The review, conducted by Black Beyond Data – a project based at Johns Hopkins University – found that Lloyd’s had profited from the trade.
Alexandre White, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins, who led the independently funded project, said: ‘Lloyd’s was
‘Narrative of hopelessness’
quite central, we can see, to the maintenance of the Atlantic slave trade and also profited, most likely significantly, from it.’
The £40million will be administered by the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, which serves Latin America and the Caribbean.
Issuing an apology, Bruce CarnegieBrown, chairman of Lloyd’s, said: ‘We’re deeply sorry for this period of our history and the enormous suffering caused to individuals and communities both then and today.’
Criticising the decision not to provide direct reparations, Kehinde Andrews, a professor of black studies at Birmingham City University, told The Times: ‘This is PR – giving an apology, making some commitments, but this is not serious.’
Several other bodies have apologised for their role in the slave trade. Earlier this year the Church of England pledged £100million to ‘address past wrongs’.
Pub group Greene King also apologised for historic links to the slave trade in 2020, and said it would pay reparations.
Last month, Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch criticised the ‘narrative of hopelessness’ surrounding reparations.
Speaking at the Tory conference, she said it was ‘a narrative that says there is no point in trying, because British society is against you and you’re better off asking for reparations’.