Covid-19 is widening wealth gap between BAME households and white Brits
Black African and Bangladeshi households have 10 times less wealth than white British people, according to a new report.
The research, conducted by The Runnymede Trust, found that the coronavirus pandemic is exposing and widening the economic gaps for black, Asian and ethnic minority groups, and the effects could last for a generation.
The immediate health effect of Covid-19 appears to be disproportionately effecting Britain’s ethnic minority population, but the medium and longer-term consequences require greater attention, says the report author – especially the impact of longstanding social and economic inequalities.
The Colour of Money Report found that BAME people generally have much lower levels of savings or assets than white British people. White British households hold the most wealth, Pakistani households have under half the wealth of white households, with black Caribbean households possessing substantially less.
Black African and Bangladeshi groups have much lower wealth, with an average of £30,000 or less, compared to the average of £282,000 for white households.
The report adds that there are a number of explanations behind these racial inequalities in the UK economy including; discrimination in the labour market, unequal access to the housing market, and the fact that recent migrants are less likely to inherit savings or homes.
Poverty rates vary significantly by ethnicity, but all BAME groups are more likely to be living in poverty. For Indians the rate is 22%, for ‘mixed’ its 28%; Chinese 29%; Bangladeshi 45% and Pakistani 46%. This is due to lower wages, higher unemployment rates, higher rates of part-time working, higher housing costs in England’s large cities , and slightly larger household size.
Around 18% of Bangladeshi workers, 11% of Pakistani and Chinese workers, and 5% of Black African and Indian workers are paid below the National Minimum Wage, compared to 3% of white workers.
Black and minority ethnic men have much higher unemployment rates than white British men. Even recent Russell Group BAME graduates have a higher risk of being unemployed than their white counterparts.
The research was compiled before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, but in a foreword, report author Dr Omar Khan reported that the impact of the global crisis will likely exacerbate the existing inequalities.
The Covid-19 crisis has thrown into sharper focus the way racial and other inequalities blight people’s lives from cradle to grave,’ writes Dr Khan.
‘The findings in this report are unchanged; the evidence supports and illuminates what we are seeing play out in harsh reality: that racial discrimination is, like poverty, a “social determinant of health”.’
He adds that in responses to the pandemic, it is important to acknowledge that ‘some people are at greater risk or in more need than others, and this is not randomly patterned.
‘Instead, the risk or need tracks historic inequalities that, in the case of race, are based on a long history of discrimination and injustice.’
The report comes amid after Downing Street confirms that it will formally review the disproportionately high number of coronavirus cases among people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The first 10 doctors in the UK to die from Covid-19 were from BAME backgrounds.
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