Labour demands immediate action for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, as new report lays bare pandemic suffering
Labour today calls on the Government to take urgent action that would protect Black, Asian and minority ethnic people from a second spike of COVID-19 over winter, as a new report from Baroness Doreen Lawrence lays bare the impact the pandemic has already had on communities across the country.
Welcoming the report, Labour Leader Keir Starmer MP has announced that the next Labour government will implement a Race Equality Act to tackle structural racial inequality at source.
The Labour leader appointed Baroness Lawrence to lead the review into how those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds were being impacted by Covid-19.
Her report makes both immediate and long-term recommendations to protect those most at risk and tackle structural inequalities in several key areas including the machinery of government, health, employment and in the education system.
Baroness Lawrence recommends that the government urgently implements a plan to protect Black, Asian and minority ethnic people as winter approaches, suspends the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule during the pandemic and takes action to tackle stigmatisation.
The report identifies how Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers have been impacted by the Government’s failure to facilitate Covid-secure workplaces and proposes that the Government should introduce a legal requirement for employers to publish their COVID-19 risk assessments on a central government portal.
Arguing that structural racism led to the disproportionate impact of this crisis, the report also makes longer term recommendations to reduce inequalities across society. Keir Starmer has asked Baroness Doreen Lawrence to use these recommendations as she develops Labour’s new Race Equality Act to tackle structural inequality.
Baroness Lawrence said:
“We are in the middle of an avoidable crisis and the Government cannot ignore the facts.
“If no immediate action is taken to protect those most at risk as we enter the second wave more people will unnecessarily die.
“If no long-term action is taken to tackle structural inequalities we will keep seeing this pattern of injustice occur beyond the pandemic.
“We have heard enough talk from the Government. It is now time to act.”
Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:
“I welcome this report and thank Doreen for her tireless work, as well as those who have responded to the review.
“Government ministers should absorb this report and act immediately. Failure to do so will leave many of our fellow citizens badly exposed over the winter.
“This must be a turning point. That’s why the next Labour government will introduce a new Race Equality Act to tackle the structural inequalities that led to the disproportionate impact of this crisis.”
Marsha de Cordova MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said:
“This crisis has laid bare the racial inequalities which have long existed in our society.
“But the government is unwilling to accept that these issues are structural and are again failing to understand that race is a social determinant of health.
“This is a complete abdication of responsibility. What we need are systemic solutions to systemic problems. By committing to a Race Equality Act Labour is showing that we are ready to take the leadership that is needed.