Covid-19 and The Socioeconomic Impact that is The Ethnicity Pay Gap

The Health Foundation published a report  last year, identifying that those mostly affected by Covid-19 come from a low socioeconomic environment. It says, Even before the pandemic hit, low-income families in the UK had experienced several years of particularly weak income growth, with incomes at roughly the same level as they were nearly 2 decades ago and one in five people living in poverty in 2019/20.

A recent survey carried out by the Social Metric Commission suggests that people already in the deepest forms of poverty have experienced some of the worst employment impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Two-thirds experienced a negative employment change during the crisis, either through losing their job, becoming furloughed or experiencing a change in hours or earnings. This contrasts with one-third of people living more than 20% clear of the poverty line.

Disabled people were more likely to have experienced a negative employment outcome than people without a disability, and black and Asian people were more likely to have been negatively impacted than those from white ethnic groups.

I do not believe I am qualified to discuss the disability economic struggle but I do know that a disability pay gap exists and that, like the ethnicity pay gap, there is limited discussion about it.

The ONS graph below shows the disparity between people on low income and those people who have wealth, identifying that in the most deprived areas Covid-19 is proportionately higher.

As the founder of the #EthnicityPayGap campaign I am acutely aware that those who are Black Asian or representative of other ethnic groups suffer an ethnicity pay gap of great proportion. This is the same group that in significantly at risk of catching Covid-19.

The TUC recently identified that Black and minority ethnic workers have been hit 26 times harder by the Covid-19 jobs crisis than their white counterparts. Employment has dropped by 5.3 per cent compared to 0.2 per cent amongst white workers. The TUC is calling on the government to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting and ban Zero-hours contracts that disproportionately impact Black and minority ethnic workers.

Zita Holbourne co-founder Black Activists Rising Against Cuts voiced concerns about the equality impact of the pandemic. Black and minority ethnic workers are at the front-line and are more likely to be disproportionately dying from Covid.

Surely we have waited long enough for action to happen. The gender pay gap reporting has been mandatory since 2018. Why hasn’t the Ethnicity Pay Gap? why is ethnicity an issue for this government? We cannot ignore that ethnic minorities are being disadvantaged in many areas, you only have to look at the evidence that has been produced by many scholars. Lord Woolley said, “Ethnic minority pay gap reporting was promised and should now be delivered without delay. This is not a silver bullet, but it will begin to transform the way big businesses treat BAME staff”. I would go further, it will begin to transform how the government treat Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities. To show care and consideration for others, demonstrates that you care for all in the UK not just the chosen few.