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Government urged to publish second part of BAME coronavirus review amid row over ‘lack of transparency’

Government urged to publish second part of BAME coronavirus review amid row over ‘lack of transparency’

Labour’s Shadow Equalities Secretary Marsha De Cordova said it was a ‘scandal’ that the further document had not been published.

2 min read

Ministers have been urged to explain a “lack of transparency” after it emerged that a second report into the impact of Covid-19 on people from black and minority ethnic communities has not been published.

Labour’s Shadow Equalities Secretary Marsha De Cordova said it was a “scandal” that the further document, reportedly containing proposals to tackle the disproportionate impact of the virus on BAME people, had yet to be made public.

The Government faced criticism last week after the Public Health England study was published without recommendations for action.

Instead, Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch was asked to pick up that work and told MPs that PHE “did not make recommendations because they were not able to do so".

But a senior academic asked to peer-review a late-stage draft of the work for the Government told the BBC that it had contained recommendations as well as evidence from 4,000 individuals and organisations on the impact of the virus.

Professor Raj Bopal told the broadcaster: “Parliament had not been told the full truth."

And he said: “The public has expressed a great deal of disappointment as well as the people who were part of this consultation, asking, 'Where have our voices gone?'

"Public trust saves lives. If you consult the public, you must publish the results.”

In a statement, Public Health England said: “The Government commissioned PHE to conduct an epidemiological review to analyse how different factors can impact on people’s health outcomes from Covid-19. This was published in full on the 2nd June.

“In parallel, Professor Kevin Fenton, on PHE’s behalf, engaged with a significant number of individuals and organisations within the BAME community, to hear their views, concerns and ideas about the impact of Covid-19 on their communities.”

But Ms De Cordova said: “It is a scandal that the Government appears to have blocked a review that included recommendations that could help save Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic lives during this crisis.”

And she added: "The Government's failure to publish this review is yet another in a litany of failures to support BAME communities during Covid-19. 
 
“The Government must now urgently publish these recommendations in full and provide an explanation for its lack of transparency on this review. Black Lives Matter is more than just a slogan, we cannot wait any longer for action to tackle racial injustice." 

That view was echoed by Liberal Democrat leadership challenger Layla Moran, who said it was “simply staggering” that the report had “not been published already”.

The Lib Dem frontbencher added: "Ministers must now publish these recommendations without delay and ensure action is taken to better protect ethnic minority communities.”

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