CLLR Carole Williams, Labour Councillor for Hoxton West and Hackney Labour equalities lead, has called on the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate the impact on Hackney’s diverse community and Council officers of the Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

In a hard-hitting letter to the Chair of the Commission’s Board this week, she has called for a review into the Government’s response to the public health crisis and the impact on people with protected characteristics.

Cllr Williams said in the letter: “We have no confidence that the Government will adequately review their own actions with the scrutiny that these issues deserve.”

This is following the Government’s announcement of their own review into the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on ethnic minorities, which was announced on 16 April, after evidence from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre found that 35% of almost 2,000 patients critically ill with Covid-19 in UK hospitals were non-white ─ nearly triple the 13% proportion in the country’s population as a whole.

Cllr Carole Williams

Cllr Williams called for the Commission to research the impact of the coronavirus crisis on individuals across protected characteristics, and whether government actions ─ such as the early ‘herd immunity’ strategy, the timing of the country-wide lockdown, adequate PPE provision and testing ─ has worsened the impact of the crisis on these communities.

Cllr Williams, Hackney Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources said: “While the coronavirus does not discriminate in its infection of people, the impacts of the crisis, and the response from governments, do. Hackney’s diverse residents and staff need assurances that the Government’s actions have helped, and not hindered, the protection of their communities. Only a review independently of the Government can help achieve this.

“We have also written to Baroness Lawrence and Marsha de Cordova MP, congratulating them on their appointments as the race relations adviser and Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary respectively, and welcoming the Labour Party review into the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on black, asian and other minority ethnicity communities.

“We have called for this review to be intersectional, as those whose identities cover multiple protected characteristics will be impacted differently.”

Philip Glanville, Labour & Co-operative directly elected Mayor of Hackney, said: “The Hackney Labour administration are making sure the Council is doing everything in its power to protect and stand-up for all our residents and frontline staff during this crisis. The Council is working cooperatively with our communities, keeping our vital frontline public services running, and directly intervening to support residents and the local economy.

“But this hasn’t been helped by a Government that has been too slow to react and too unprepared. Hackney’s communities need answers as to whether this has worsened the impact of the crisis on certain groups and the confidence that going forward they and their representatives will be fully involved in the next phase of the response.”


Letter from Cllr Carole Williams to David Isaac CBE, Board of Commissioners Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission:

Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre report into critically ill patients with COVID-19:

Hackney Council Special Cabinet Report outlining Council response to the crisis:

I May 2020



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