More than 70 BAME British figures have today written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to call for an independent public inquiry into the disproportionate deaths from Covid-19 amongst Britons from minority backgrounds.
The broad coalition of signatories from across society includes industry experts, people in public life and faith leaders such as; the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Harun Khan, Noughts and Crosses author Malorie Blackman, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, Phil Wang, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Saloum N’jie, Bonnie Greer OBE, Farooq Chaudhry OBE, Matt Henry MBE, Shaun Escoffery and Jermaine Jackman.
The letter calls for the inquiry to be broadened to include a focus on the levels of exposure BAME staff are facing, and whether employers are fulfilling their duty of care.
The letter also asks whether Government emergency planning fulfilled the Public Sector Equalities Duty by factoring in the needs of BAME communities.
‘Covid-19 is clearly now one of the biggest issues in post-war history, directing a spotlight on race and health inequalities.’
A ‘transparent process’ would ‘restore public confidence’, the letter says:
‘By instigating such an inquiry, the Government will provide an opportunity for a range of stakeholders to submit evidence through a transparent process.
‘This would help to restore public confidence amongst the UK’s BAME community.
‘An inquiry will provide key findings and offer clear recommendations for systemic or transformational change around the role of the public sector and race equality in Britain.’
Official statistics show Black Britons are four times more likely to die of coronavirus.
For the Office of National Statistics’ data on deaths by ethnic groups, click here.