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BAME Brits twice as likely to have lost their job during furlough, new study finds

The warning comes as the Treasury looks to wind down the furlough scheme (PA)

2 min read

Black and minority ethnic (BAME) Brits are twice as likely to have lost their job during the coronavirus furlough period, a new study has found.

A new survey from charity Hope Not Hate has found ethnic minority Brits are twice as likely to have lost their job during the pandemic, and a third more likely to have had their hours reduced.

The study of 1,001 BAME adults across the UK found 7% had reported losing their job, compared to a national average of just 3%.

Meanwhile, 9% of respondents said they had struggled to pay rent during the pandemic, against around 5% of respondents nationally.

The figures, which come as Chancellor Rishi Sunak pushes ahead with plans to wind down the furlough scheme, show that 13% of BAME people had also reported having their hours cut by employers during June, compared to just 9% in the wider population.

Responding to the findings, shadow mental health minister Rosena Allin-Khan said BAME communities were at risk of "increased suffering" in the event of a second wave.

"So many BAME people are in insecure work and have to carry on with unsafe practices for fear of the repercussions, afraid to speak out," she said.

"They could not afford not to go to work - they could not risk losing their jobs. Perhaps just as worrying as the health inequity faced by BAME communities are the economic consequences of lockdown.

"BAME people are up to twice as likely that the national average to face economic hardship through loss of work and lack of financial support.

"As we face the very imminent threat of a second wave, these factors create the perfect storm for further transmission and increased suffering in BAME communities."

Meanwhile, the study found a majority (57%) of respondents felt ministers have failed to do enough to protect BME communities during the pandemic, with almost two-thirds (62%) saying the Government had not handled the outbreak well.

Report author Rosie Carter said the figures provided evidence that BAME communities had been "hit hardest" by the pandemic.

"The country came together in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic showing both our gratitude to those working in key services and reaching out in our communities," she said.

"Now we are heading into the next phase of the pandemic response, the evidence is mounting that BAME communities have been hit hardest by both the pandemic and the consequences of lockdown, so it is vital that the government urgently prioritises a targeted public health strategy that bridges gaps between communities, reaches those most at risk and contributes to building better support networks across our society."

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