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Inquiry launched into impact of pandemic on people with protected characteristics

Gscene Editorial Team April 3, 2020

As the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world, the UK government’s Women & Equalities Committee is seeking information about its impact on people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act.

These include: age, disability, sex, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

The committee also wants to hear about the measures being taken to tackle this impact, following concerns expressed by the Equality & Human Rights Commission, among other organisations.

The committee wants to hear your views. We welcome submissions from anyone with answers to the questions in the call for evidence. You can submit evidence until Thursday 30 April 2020

Chair of the Women & Equalities Committee Caroline Nokes said: “In these extraordinary times, it is as important as ever that the government considers how its actions to tackle the coronavirus impact differently on different communities.

“Passing emergency legislation at great speed has been essential. Now we need to understand the present and future effect on those who may already be marginalised. We are listening, and we need your evidence to help us to help the government consider equalities issues, to ensure that its policies and plans are as effective as possible.”

The committee wants to find out more about the impact government measures, including emergency legislation, are having on people with these protected characteristics, and is asking:

  • Have all the relevant equality issues been considered?
  • Are there any unforeseen consequences?
  • If there are problems, what could be done differently/ better?

Among issues already brought to the committee’s attention are:

Aware there may be many more equality impacts, the committee says it is keen to hear from individuals and from organisations on the following questions:

  • How have people have been affected by the illness or the response to it?
  • Have there been specific impacts on people due to them having a protected characteristic?
  • Are there any unforeseen consequences to measures brought in to ease the burden on frontline staff?

The government has said current measures will be reviewed in three weeks’ time, and measures in the Coronavirus Act be voted on again in six months’ time:

  • What needs to change or improve, which could be acted on in three weeks’ time?
  • What needs to change or improve, which could be acted on in 6 months’ time?

The committee would like to receive responses by 30 April, but has said that evidence submitted after that time will still be useful as it will continue to review the situation and scrutinise the government.

Any evidence directly relevant to the government’s three-week review of the current measures should be provided as soon as possible.

Further information