Redbridge Council leader lambasts Government over coronavirus threat to BAME communities

Redbridge Council’s leader has called for a cabinet minister to “either address the situation or be fired” after a report proved people from ethnic minorities are more at risk from coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday that the public was “understandably angry about injustices” and the “huge disparities in the health of our nation” exposed by the report.

The report from Public Health England showed a Bangladeshi person is twice as likely to die of the virus as a white British person of the same age and sex.

Other black and asian ethnicities are between 10 to 50 per cent more at risk from the virus.

Redbridge leader Cllr Jas Athwal, where the majority of residents are BAME, said the Government’s failure to act as this racial divide became clear may have violated the 2010 Equalities Act.

He said: “Covid-19 has shown the ability of the Government to respond to a loss of life crisis when it presents itself.

“The fact that BAME communities are disproportionately affected has been an emerging reality and yet this government has done so little to respond.

“If the Government has not broken the 2010 Equalities Act, I would be surprised. Regardless of the legalities, this matter requires urgent action and a cabinet level minister to either address the situation or be fired.”

He added that the statistics were particularly upsetting given the fact many BAME victims of the virus were exposed staffing vital services, such as the NHS, care homes or supermarkets.

The Department of Health and Social Care has denied it delayed publishing the report due to fears of stoking the mass political activism inspired by the murder of American George Floyd by police.


Mick Ferris

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