William Eichler 09 December 2020

London boroughs vow to do more to tackle racial inequalities

The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities shows there’s ‘so much more to do’ to promote racial equality, London borough leaders have said.

In its submission to the national Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, the cross-party group London Councils has set out a number of ways that councils in the capital can tackle racial inequalities.

Research cited by London Councils suggests that those with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have between a 10% and 50% higher risk of death from COVID-19 than white Britons.

The economic fallout from the pandemic has also had a major impact on BAME Londoners, as they constitute 38% of London’s workers with the highest risk of losing their job, according to the cross-party group.

BAME Londoners are paid substantially less per hour (£13.50) than Londoners on average (£15.70), and the ethnicity pay gap in the capital is higher than any other region at 23.8%.

According to London Council’s submission, local authorities in the capital will commit to act as exemplars of inclusive workforces. They will also address inequalities through local skills-boosting initiatives and by focusing more on educational outcomes for ethnic minority children.

Local authorities in London will also work with criminal justice agencies to reduce inequalities in the criminal justice system.

‘We pride ourselves on living in a diverse and multicultural city, but there remain deeply entrenched racial inequalities that cannot be allowed to continue,’ said Cllr Muhammed Butt, London Councils’ executive member for welfare, empowerment & inclusion.

‘The events of this year have shown there’s so much more to do on the equality agenda. When the government talks about levelling up the country, that ambition must also include addressing racial inequality and breaking down the barriers that hold back too many Britons.

‘Councils have a crucial role to play through providing local leadership, targeting resources, and designing services to support fairer and more inclusive outcomes in our communities.

‘While we acknowledge the enormous scale of the challenge, London boroughs are determined to work together and help secure faster progress. This is going to be a key priority as we shape London’s post-pandemic recovery in the coming months and years.’

Photo: Wei Huang / Shutterstock.com

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