Keir Starmer: Government should 'stop the excuses' and publish BAME coronavirus report
2 June 2020, 07:00 | Updated: 2 June 2020, 10:29
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on the Government to "stop the excuses" and publish a review into the impact of Covid-19 on people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
He tweeted: "BAME communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. We need the findings of this review published and action taken now."
Ministers have been accused of not taking the threat against from coronavirus against BAME Brits seriously after the release of an official review was delayed with reports suggesting the delay was due to "worries" over ongoing worldwide protests over the death of George Floyd.
The report was commissioned by Public Health England to see how a number of factors can impact on people's vulnerability to coronavirus but was due to be published at the end of May.
“It is unacceptable that this review should be delayed without a given date for its publication. BAME communities need answers,” said Marsha de Cordova, the shadow women and equalities secretary.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics, black men and women are more than four times more likely to suffer a coronavirus-related death than white people.
The Government website says the findings from the review were to be published "by the end of May 2020".
However, Sky News reports the review "was being put on hold until Wednesday because it was not ready for publishing."
"(The) BAME communities need answers," Labour MP Marsha de Cordova said.
"It is unacceptable that this review should be delayed without a given date for its publication."
According to Sky News, "worries" over the review being published amid the ongoing protests in the US over the death of George Floyd also played a part in the findings not being released on time.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman denied this was the case, telling Sky: "Ministers received initial findings today (Monday). They are being rapidly considered and a report will be published this week.
"It is not true to say this has been delayed due to global events."
Ms de Cordova said the timing of the situation was ironic.
"There is a gross irony in delaying the release of a report into the unequal suffering of the BAME community, on the basis of global events that relate to the suffering of black communities around the world.
"If anything, recent events make the release of this report all the more urgent.
"If the Government is serious about tackling racial injustice, they should not be shying away from understanding into why these injustices exist."