Despite the government finally publishing the PHE review into disproportionate BAME deaths from Covid-19, this week we learnt that the government blocked the release of the review's recommendations. Recommendations and evidence from 4,000 individuals and organisations that could help save Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic lives during this crisis. We simply cannot afford to wait any longer for action.
That's why Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party has tasked social justice campaigner Baroness Doreen Lawrence with leading a review into the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities. Through the review they will look to understand the key socio-economic and structural factors, present tangible recommendations and press for immediate and long term action to protect BAME people, so that these inequalities can be addressed and lives saved.
Doreen Lawrence is also working closely with Marsha De Cordova, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, to amplify the voices of all BAME communities affected by this virus. They have been listening to community groups, experts, representative bodies in order to present findings and recommendations to the government and any other relevant bodies.
The review is looking to:
1. Gather data or case studies on the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities
2. Understand the range of factors behind the disproportionate impact
3. Review the response from government, local government, third sector and faith communities
4. Gather recommendations on the protection and support for the most affected communities as lockdown eases
5. Gather recommendations for reducing health inequalities
If you would like to send a submission, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Written submissions are also being accepted. You can also send a submission by following the link below.
I have joined Birmingham MPs in issuing a cross-party statement in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in Birmingham, across the country and around the world. We are committed to engaging with and listening to the black communities we represent to help bring about meaningful, lasting change in the city.
Birmingham City Council introduced a city-wide Article 4 Direction on Monday, meaning that any developers looking to turn properties into Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) for between three and six people will have to apply for planning permission.
This is a welcome step that will help address many of the issues constituents have raised with me over the years about badly managed local HMOs. Constituents have reported increases in crime, anti-social behaviour, littering, parking problems and lack of community cohesion linked with the transient nature of many of the tenancies.
Click below for more information about the new city-wide direction.
From Monday, face coverings will be mandatory on all public transport in England.
Two months ago, Labour backed the Mayor of London’s call for face coverings on public transport to be made compulsory. It is disappointing that it is only now that Tory Ministers are acting.
The government's guidance remains to work from home if you can and avoid public transport where possible. Where travel is essential and walking, cycling or driving is not an option, face coverings on public transport will be required.
Face coverings can be made from home from a variety of items you can find around the house.
The government recommends a cloth face covering that covers your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.
Click below for more information on how to make your own face covering.
The Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill returned to Parliament yesterday.
The Games are a really exciting opportunity for the city, but there are of course concerns about the amount that Birmingham City Council is being required to contribute and the additional pressure that visitors will put on services.
That's why I was pleased to support the 'Local Commonwealth Games levy' amendment which would have helped local councils raise additional revenue to offset the financial pressures of hosting the Games.
Our Shadow Mayor of the West Midlands, Liam Byrne, and other West Midlands Labour colleagues made an impassioned case for this amendment and our amendment to let the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee become an accredited Real Living Wage Employer. Unfortunately, both amendments were refused by Tory ministers.
You can watch my contribution to the Commonwealth Games debate earlier this year, by clicking below.
Any Covid-19 vaccine must be seen as a global public good. In the interest of global public health, developed nations leading on the production of a vaccine must ensure fair, open and equal access and guarantee affordability for all.
Click below to watch my first question on this issue in DfID orals on Wednesday.
I used my second question to urge the Secretary of State to commit to attaching clear, transparent conditions on British taxpayers' money to accelerate vaccine development, and guarantee truly equitable access to vaccines based on need, not on how deep your pockets are.