Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Marsha de Cordova MP, has called on the Government to urgently undertake and publish a meaningful equality impact assessment of its Coronavirus Recovery Strategy, on groups with protected characteristics, including women, LGBT+ people, disabled people and BAME communities.
“We have already seen how Covid-19 has exposed and exacerbated economic, health and social inequalities in our society.
“It is vital that the groups most at-risk to in this crisis, including the BAME community, women and disabled people, are protected in the Government’s plans to ease lockdown.
“That is why Labour is calling on the Government to urgently undertake and publish an equalities impact assessment of its Coronavirus Recovery Strategy.”
According to the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, only one in ten of those on the lowest salaries are able to work from home. Following the Government’s Coronavirus Recovery Strategy announcements, many could face pressure to return to work and risk their safety.
This is likely to disproportionately impact women, who represent 69% of low-paid workers, and some BAME people who are four times more likely to work in industries that have been shut down as a result of Covid 19.
Under the 2010 Equality Act, the Government has a Public Sector Equality Duty to “advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a… protected characteristic”. Equality Impact Assessments are not just a tick box exercise, but one of the main tools to achieve this. They act as a vital resource to improve and mitigate decision making.
The Government must undertake and publish an urgent Equality Impact Assessment on its Coronavirus Recovery Strategy to address the inequalities exacerbated by the crisis.