Looking ahead to next week’s budget, Rosie Carter reveals new polling which highlights how BAME communities have taken the biggest economic hit during the COVID crisis, and lays out what needs to be done in response.

New research by HOPE not hate Charitable Trust has found that BAME communities have taken the hardest economic hit during the Coronavirus pandemic. The numbers in this exclusive polling – which you can read in full here – are stark.

  • A huge 22% of BAME people say have lost their job as a result of the virus. In comparison in a nationally representative poll carried out shortly before, only 13% of white respondents polled said they had lost their job.
  • 34% of BAME people had their hours reduced compared to 23% of white of white respondents in the national poll. 
  • A quarter of BAME people (25%) said they had applied for Universal Credit. This went up to 30% for Black respondents. In comparison 16% of white respondents said they had in the national poll.
  • Approximately one in five (19%) of BAME people in our poll said they had used a food bank, rising to 25% for Black respondents. In comparison 12% of white respondents in the national poll said they had.
  • 28% of BAME respondents said they gotten into debt rising to 34% for Black respondents. In comparison 20% of white respondents said they had in the national poll. 
  • One in five BAME respondents said that they’d lost out financially because they’d had to self-isolate.

The economic toll on BAME communities has been severe. The government has to step up it’s response. That’s why we’re backing calls for the Chancellor to extend the furlough scheme to avoid a cliff-edge fall in employment. It is vital that the budget increases the safety net for those who need it by eliminating delays and increasing payments of universal credit. The Chancellor must extend the residential eviction ban in England which will support all those who have been most impacted by the pandemic, especially, the minority ethnic groups disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The consistent racial inequity that we have seen throughout the pandemic – across measures of health and education outcomes, and this new polling shows, employment, financial security, housing and general wellbeing – are not random. It’s clear that more needs to be done to address systemic discrimination which underpins these growing gaps. 

The phrase ‘build back better’ has become the Government mantra to getting the economy back on track – but there’s no way that building back can be ‘better’ unless it is also fairer.