20 things the government must do to tackle structural racism and protect BAME communities from coronavirus

The Canary

Baroness Doreen Lawrence has set out 20 recommendations for the government to protect those most at risk from coronavirus and tackle inequality in the longer term.

Here are her recommendations from her review into the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities:

  1. Set out an urgent plan for tackling the disproportionate impact of Covid on BAME people this winter

2. Implement a national strategy to tackle health inequalities.

3. Suspend the “no recourse to public funds” rule during the pandemic and review its impact on public health and health inequalities.

4. Ensure Covid-19 cases from the workplace are properly recorded by confirming that employers must report occupational infections of Covid-19 in line with health and safety law.

5. Introduce a legal requirement for employers to publish their Covid-19 risk assessments on a central Government portal.

Improved access to PPE is recommended (Peter Byrne/PA)
Improved access to PPE is recommended (Peter Byrne/PA)

6. Improve access to personal protective equipment (PPE) in all high-risk workplaces where required and advise employers that they should provide PPE that is appropriate for all staff, such as those who wear hijabs, turbans or have beards for religious reasons.

7. Give targeted support to people who are struggling to self-isolate at home, including a package of resources to enable local authorities to identify and support people who may not be able to self-isolate.

8. Urgently bring forward emergency legislation to protect renters in this crisis, and ensure that its Renters Reform Bill includes measures to tackle racial discrimination in the private rental market.

9. Raise the local housing allowance to the level of local average rents, to ensure low-income households are not forced into debt eviction and homelessness.

10. Conduct and publish equality impact assessments on the government’s support schemes

11.  Develop a clear plan to combat stigmatisation of communities during the Covid-19 crisis.

12. Urgently legislate to tackle online harms by bringing forward the Online Harms Bill.

13.  Remove linguistic, cultural and digital barriers to accessing public health information. The government should work with all relevant bodies, including faith and community groups, to identify effective channels to disseminate information and provide support.

14.  Ensure comprehensive ethnicity data collection across the NHS and social care, and ensure all appropriate data collected and released by Government and public bodies includes a demographic breakdown.

15. Implement a race equality strategy, developed with BAME communities.

16. Ensure all policies and programmes help tackle structural inequality

17. Make the publication of ethnicity pay gaps mandatory for firms with more than 250 staff, to mirror gender pay gap reporting.

Reforms to the immigration system are advised (Steve Parsons/PA)
Reforms to the immigration system are advised (Steve Parsons/PA)

18.  Commit to stopping the “hostile environment”, and reforming the immigration system.

19. The government, working with the devolved administrations, should launch a review into the diversity of the school curriculum to ensure it includes black British history, colonialism and Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade.

20. Implement a national strategy with clear targets to close the attainment gap at every stage in a child’s development, enforced through an independent body, such as the Children’s Commissioner.

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