November 21, 2020
From Stand Up To Racism (UK)

We note with grave concern that despite the Black Lives Matter movement, COVID-19 continues to have a disproportionate impact on Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. Recent figures show 38.3% of Covid patients admitted to intensive care in the second wave have been from BAME backgrounds despite making up around 15% of the total population.

A report into economic impact found 8% of BAME British and 10 percent of BAME migrant communities lost their job since the start of the COVID crisis, compared to only 3.3% of the white non migrant communities. BAME British communities were also 40% less likely than white British communities to benefit from employee protection such as furlough.

We condemn the whipping up of racism towards BAME communities and refugees to scapegoat and distract from the government’s failed response to the virus and its dire economic ramifications. This has led to an increase in racist attacks. Racially motivated offences accounted for three quarters of all hate crimes and increased by 4,000 in 2019-20.

In the UK in cumulative deaths per capita continues to be the worst of any major country and the 19.8 per cent GDP slump in the second quarter was worse than any other major economy.

We must reverse the alarming rise in coronavirus deaths, infections, and the economic slump. The only effective solution is for the government to aim for the elimination of the coronavirus – Zero Covid. This policy has been endorsed by the British Medical Association, Independent SAGE and others. Only then can we effectively restart the economy.

We strongly support the call for schools and colleges to close and for universities to move online during the national lockdown.

We call for:

  • A public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities.
  • The implementation of measures outlined in the Runnymede Trust / IPPR report on ethnic disparities including isolation pay support for those with no recourse to public funds and an end to NHS charging under the hostile environment.
  • Immediate action to create a functioning test, track and trace system with funding given to local NHS public health teams.
    The national lockdown to include the physical closure of schools, colleges and universities until deaths and infections have significantly reduced.
  • Proper financial support for communities including furlough to continue as long as necessary, more support for the self-employed and small businesses, and funding for schools, colleges and universities to support home learning.

Signed by

Diane Abbott MP
Kate Osamor MP
Dawn Butler MP
John McDonnell MP
Richard Burgon MP
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
Zarah Sultana MP
Apsana Begum MP
Kim Johnson MP
Ian Byrne MP
Mary Foy MP
Ian Lavery MP
Claudia Webbe MP
Chris Stephens MP (Scottish National Party)
Liz Saville-Roberts MP (Plaid Cymru)
Lord Hain
Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary
Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary
Ian Hodson, BFaWU National President
Daniel Kebede, Senior Vice President of National Education Union
Zita Holbourne, PCS National Vice President
Dr Siema Iqbal, AskDoc
Shazad Amin, CEO of MEND
Dr Shahrar Ali, Green Party Home Affairs spokesperson
Jacqueline McKenzie, Solicitor and Director of Centre for Migration Advice and Research
Dilowar Khan, East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre
David Rosenberg, Jewish Socialists’ Group
Mohammed Kozbar, Finsbury Mosque
Mohammad Asif, Afghan Human Rights Foundation
Robina Qureshi, Positive Action in Housing
Lawrence Davis, Belly Mujinga case lawyer
Sabby Dhalu and Weyman Bennett, Stand up to Racism
All Black Lives UK
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
Cat Hobbs, Director – We Own It
Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary
Lindsey German, Convenor Stop The War Coalition
Salma Yaqoob, Stop the War Coalition & NHS worker
Ben Chacko, Editor of Morning Star
Sonali Bhattacharyya, National Secretary Momentum (Personal Capacity)
Stafford Scott, Coordinator of Tottenham Rights
Ryan Colaço
Denis Fernando, Rainbow Coalition Against Racism