Public Health England Review: Covid-19 Disparities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:37 am on 4th June 2020.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 10:37 am, 4th June 2020

I wish to reassure Scotland’s BAME communities that the SNP takes this issue very seriously. On 20 May, the Scottish Government published Public Health Scotland’s preliminary analysis, which suggested that the proportion of BAME patients among those seriously ill with covid is no higher than the proportion in the Scottish population generally. However, the Scottish Government are treating those findings with caution, given the findings in England and Wales. Further work is under way to deepen understanding of the risk factors and improve analysis.

It was good to hear the Prime Minister agree with my right hon. Friend Ian Blackford yesterday that black lives matter. However, actions speak louder than words and some Government policies impact more strongly on BAME communities. What action will the UK Government take to review their no recourse to public funds policies, given that the Prime Minister revealed that he was unaware that thousands of people are locked out of available support due to those rules? In addition, why will the UK Government not lower the earnings threshold for statutory sick pay, which is forcing people in BAME communities out to work when it is not safe for them to be working?