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Covid-19: BAME Communities

Volume 678: debated on Wednesday 22 July 2020

What steps her Department has taken to help tackle the disproportionate effect of the covid-19 outbreak on black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. (905149)

What steps the Equality Hub is taking to better understand the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on black and minority ethnic people. (905155)

We are concerned that covid-19 is disproportionately impacting ethnic minority communities, which is why the Government have put in place measures to reduce the spread of the virus, especially for people who may be at higher risk. In addition to a raft of specific targeted interventions, I am working with the Race Disparity Unit and the Department of Health and Social Care to act on the findings of the Public Health England review of disparities in risks and outcomes of covid-19. That work will enable us to take appropriate, evidence-based action to address the highlighted disparities.

In the light of the latest evidence from the TUC on racism and risk in the workplace, what steps will the Minister take to tackle the entrenched discrimination faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic people at work?

The Government are doing all they can to address racial disparities across all sectors. The hon. Gentleman may be aware of the commission that the Prime Minister has set up, with the commissioners announced last week, which will look at continued disparities across the board, including in the workplace.

My constituency of Kensington has a substantial BAME population. Can my hon. Friend reassure me that her follow-up work on the PHE report will take into account how comorbidities and occupations affect the outcomes of coronavirus?

My hon. Friend is completely right. It is important to remember that the PHE review findings did not take into account comorbidities or other factors such as occupations. I agree with her that it is imperative for us to understand the key drivers of these disparities, the relationships between the risk factors, and what we can do to close the gap in the evidence that the review highlighted.

The recommendations in the Marmot review and the Marmot review 10 years on would be a good place to start when addressing health inequalities impacting BAME communities. Is 10 years enough time to consider the recommendations of the original review, and how long will it be before we see the recommendations of either implemented?

I had a meeting with Professor Marmot just last month, and we discussed the recommendations of his review. If my right hon. Friend has seen the report, she will know that many of the recommendations are at a very high level. For instance, the first recommendation says that we should give every child the best start in life. I am sure that that was something she took forward when she was a Minister. This Government believe that it is important, and it is reflected in all our policies across education and communities.