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Black people are biggest victims of Britain's Covid disaster

BAME Britons twice as likely to have lost their job

BLACK and ethnic minority people are twice as likely to have lost their job during the pandemic, a damning survey suggests. 

The report by Hope Not Hate adds to mounting evidence that BAME communities have not only been disproportionately hit by the health crisis but also the economic fallout. 

In its survey published today, the charity found that ethnic minority communities were twice as likely to report having lost their job — 7 per cent — compared with the national average of 3 per cent. 

The findings were based on a comparison of three polls that surveyed experiences during the Covid-19 crisis: two nationally representative polls carried out in May and June, and of one of BAME adults carried out in July.

It showed that BAME respondents were also twice as likely (13 per cent compared with 7 per cent) to report having their working hours reduced, and a third more likely to have struggled to pay their rent (9 per cent compared with 5 per cent) and have fallen into debt (9 per cent compared with 5 per cent). 

The report states that BAME communities face a “double bind of health inequalities and a disproportionate impact of lockdown and its economic impact.”

It comes after multiple reports found that black people were twice as likely to die from the virus than white people. 

A Public Health England report suggested this was due to a combination of factors including institutional racism and the overrepresentation of ethnic minorities in front-line, high-risk and insecure roles. 

In response to Hope Not Hate’s findings, shadow mental health minister Rosena Allin-Khan MP said: “So many BAME people are in insecure work and have to carry on with unsafe practices for fear of the repercussions, afraid to speak out. 

“They could not afford not to go to work — they could not risk losing their jobs. Perhaps just as worrying as the health inequity faced by BAME communities are the economic consequences of lockdown.”

The report also looked at perceptions of the government’s Covid-19 response among BAME communities. 

It found that more than half of respondents (57 per cent) thought the government had not done enough to protect BAME people from the virus, while 15 per cent disagreed. 

Sixty-two per cent said ministers had not managed the response to the virus very well. 

Hope Not Hate said this erosion of trust in the government presented “serious implications” for Public Health England to get messages across to BAME communities. 

The report’s author Rosie Carter said: “Now we are heading into the next phase of the pandemic response, the evidence is mounting that BAME communities have been hit hardest by both the pandemic and the consequences of lockdown.

“It is vital that the government urgently prioritises a targeted public health strategy that bridges gaps between communities, reaches those most at risk and contributes to building better support networks across our society.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Coronavirus has laid bare huge inequalities in our labour market.

“It’s not right that BAME workers are bearing the brunt of this crisis. As well as being put at greater risk of exposure, they are much more likely to have lost their job.

“We need to build back better from this pandemic. And tackle the structural racism in our economy Covid has exposed.”

Labour MP Claudia Webbe told the Morning Star that Covid had spotlighted existing economic inequalities in Britain. 

“Even long before the current pandemic, systemic and structural racism had confined many from BAME communities into the ranks of the unemployed and/or in precarious and insecure work,” she said. 

Ms Webbe said that the rolling back of trade unions in workplaces, and lack of protections for BAME people to hold employers to account has also made them more vulnerable to redundancy. 

“As seen by the outcome of austerity, BAME people are always the last ones in and the first ones out,” she added.

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