Camden publishes final report investigating the unequal impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups

Today, Camden Council published its final report to address the unequal impacts of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic residents and ensure communities are protected from the immediate and long-term impacts of the pandemic.

In the report named ‘Building Equal Foundations’, the Council outlines its programme of work alongside partners which focusses on how Black, Asian and residents from other backgrounds have been disproportionally affected by Covid-19 and details a plan of action to tackle racial inequalities in Camden.

Some of the actions include:

  • Going further to improve outcomes across a range of long-term health conditions in Black, Asian and other ethnic communities
  • Appointing a new Director of Equalities at Camden Council to oversee the work around race equality in the Borough
  • Developing tutoring and virtual work experience targeted at children and young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
  • Plans to improve housing and support tenants in overcrowded homes
  • Increase employment support and access to good jobs
  • Working in partnership with Black, Asian and minority ethnic grass roots organisations, is also outlined in the final report.

The final report also provides more detail around the six focus areas the Council has examined to identify and better understand the issues Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are facing during the pandemic. The areas are understanding the lived experience of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, health inequalities present in these communities, those that are clinically vulnerable and known to Adult Social Care, children and young people, housing supply and overcrowding and employment and the labour market.

Covid-19 has exposed how deeply entrenched injustice and inequality impacts our Black, Asian and minority communities. As a council and community, we’ve been working to address racism and inequality, but the loss and trauma of the last few months calls on us to listen, learn and take comprehensive action.

We owe it to our diverse community to make sure that this is a moment for real change, where rightful anger turns into action.

This final report is another step in our work to address racial inequality in our borough, however this vital work doesn’t end here. From education and employment, to health and housing, we will focus on lasting change alongside our communities to ensure no one gets left behind and everyone has a voice. We are calling on everyone in Camden to join us in this work.
Cllr Georgia Gould, Leader of the Council
Covid-19 has exposed the cost of accepting high levels of health and social inequality, which is why now more than ever, we need to work with our partners and communities to address this and bring about real systematic change.

One of the tragedies of covid-19 has been the unequal number of deaths among black and ethnic minority people - people of Bangladeshi ethnicity have twice the risk of dying from Covid-19 than people of white British ethnicity. Other ethnicities have between 10% and 50% higher risk of death when also compared to people who are white British.

This final report summarises the findings of the working group and makes early recommendations on how we can continue to tackle racism and inequality head on and bring about real change in Camden.
Cllr Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion and Co-chair of BAME Inequalities and COVID -19 Working Group

Last month, Camden Council published the early findings of this project which showed data highlighting the disproportionate effects on minority ethnic communities and to also ensure their experiences and feedback could be fed into the final report.

Some of the key findings in Camden were:

  • In North Central London, there has been a higher percentage of COVID-19 deaths in people born in Africa or Asia, when compared to those born in the UK or Europe
  • A significantly higher proportion of Asian residents were shielding from Covid-19 (11% of Asian residents shielding compared to a general population of 7%)
  • There was a disproportionate amount of new registrations in April and May from young people from Black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds for Kooth, an online mental health support service commissioned by Camden
  • 73% of households with overcrowding points on the Council’s Housing Allocation Scheme have a lead tenant from a Black, Asian or other ethnic background, this has also meant that some children have had limited space for home learning which is often shared with siblings
  • Young people raised a concern about unconscious bias in predicted grades and how this might affect the educational outcomes of Black, Asian and other ethnic students
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers are more economically vulnerable to the current crisis than white ethnic groups as they are more likely to work in the shut-down sectors such as restaurants, retail and the gig economy
  • There has been a significant increase in rent arrears and Universal Credit (UC) claims since lockdown measures were put in place for those living in Council accommodation and data shows a disproportionate effect on Black, Asian and minority ethnic people.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Camden Council and partners have been committed to protecting as many residents as possible and the early evidence which showed the disproportionate impact on people who are Black, Asian and other ethnicities highlighted the importance of supporting Camden’s diverse communities in a variety of ways.

The work included ensuring that effective and accessible communications are shared with communities, sharing a diverse range of communications in different languages and developing resources to support resident health and wellbeing for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

In schools and education, access to laptops and Wi-Fi have been provided to disadvantaged children and over 11,000 food hampers were distributed to families in need.

You can read the final report here.

If you would like to contact us, please email in at [email protected].