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Mayor calls out inequality: new report confirms disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black people, ethnic minorities, disabled people and working mothers

Black people are at almost twice the risk of death from Covid-19than White people, with men of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage 1.8 times more likely and women from the same backgrounds 1.6 times at greater risk. The disparity is partly due to longstanding socio-economic inequalities and the increased likelihood of underlying health conditions as well as the overrepresentation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in careers such as health and social care, professions more likely to be exposed to the virus. In the capital, 16 per cent of Black workers are in insecure roles, compared with six per cent of White workers.

Karl Murray and Yansie Rolston, The Ubele Initiative’s authors to the report said: “The Ubele Initiative welcomes the report as it helps to highlight and reflect some of the lived experiences of Londoners as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From our work across the UK, we know that voluntary and community social enterprises often find themselves at the sharp end of those most impacted upon by major challenges and crisis that befall society, as they are at the sharp end face of action and response. With COVID-19, this has been no different and, through their work we hear the voices of how COVID-19 has impacted upon them. At times their voices are forceful and straight talking, while at another level, they are reassuring, inspirational and hopeful.

“Some of the recommendations contained in the report recognise the role that voluntary and community social enterprises can make in responding to the crisis. We hope, as we move to a new normal coming out of the crisis, that the role and contributions of voluntary and community social enterprises (VCSEs) are given due recognition and support as part of any transformational planning that is being planned for London.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has hit us all but this report proves that, far from being a great leveller, it has disproportionately affected disabled Londoners, people in areas of high deprivation and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

“It is simply not right for ministers to say they will do ‘whatever it takes’ to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis but then stand by as whole sectors of our society find their lives and their livelihoods at risk.

“I urge ministers to invest in our communities and the organisations supporting those most at risk, to ensure that accessible health guidance is available to all and, as case numbers are rising again, that there is adequate support in place for those who’ve lost their jobs, had their hours cut or been forced to self-isolate.”

·     Men are disproportionately more likely to die from Covid-19*, but women have experienced disproportionate economic, social and psychological impacts. Mothers were 47 per cent more likely than fathers to have lost their jobs or resigned from their jobs, and 14 per cent more likely to have been furloughed.

·     Death rates are three times higher for men in lower-paid, manual roles, such as construction and personal care, than in those in management, business and desk-based jobs. The inability to work from home and limited capacity to socially distance while working put people in non-professional roles at greater risk, not only of having their salary or hours cut, but of being furloughed or catching the virus.

·     The pandemic has negatively impacted disabled Londoners who reported increased difficulties performing practical tasks such as shopping for groceries, as well as accessing up-to-date health information about the virus. Concerns were also raised around the lack of guidance available in accessible formats, including in prominent situations such the Government’s daily press briefings which did not always feature British Sign Language interpreters.

·     Almost four in five (79 per cent) LGBTQ+ people said that their mental health had been negatively impacted by the coronavirus lockdown, and many young LGBTQ+ people have reported feeling unsafe during lockdown in their current housing conditions.

·     A lack of London-focused, Covid-specific data is making it hard to assess the full impact on those with protected characteristics and on the capital.

The report also found that voluntary and community sector organisations play a crucial role in reaching those disproportionately impacted and marginalised groups, including disabled people. This is a relationship the Mayor is eager to see the Government commit to supporting throughout the pandemic and beyond.

The Mayor has been a vocal critic of the disproportionate impact of Covid-19on Black, Asian and minority ethnic people and championed calls for ethnicity to be recorded with death registrations.

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