Keir Starmer urges Government to ‘stop the excuses’ after review into BAME coronavirus deaths delayed

Labour leader Keir Starmer today called on the Government to “stop the excuses” and publish a review into Covid-19 deaths of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The Public Health England review was launched last month after data revealed black men and women are more than four times more likely to suffer a coronavirus-related death than white people.

According to the Government website, the review’s findings were due to be published “by the end of May 2020”.

But today Sky News reports the review “was being put on hold until Wednesday because it was not ready for publishing”.

Sources claimed that “worries” over stoking racial tensions amid protests over the death of George Floyd in the USA had factored into the decision, telling the network it would be a “bad combination”.

This morning Mr Starmer tweeted: “BAME communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. We need the findings of this review published and action taken now.

“Stop the excuses: publish the review.”

Mass protests have swept across the US following the death in custody of George Floyd (AP)

The Department of Health and Social Care denied that the delay was connected to the protests.

A spokesman told Sky: “Ministers received initial findings [on Monday]. They are being rapidly considered and a report will be published this week.

“It is not true to say this has been delayed due to global events.”

Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American, died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes in Minneapolis. The officer has been charged with murder.

The death has touched off wave of mass protests and civil unrest across the US, with demonstrations also taking place in London, Manchester and Cardiff.

Marsha de Cordova, the shadow women’s and equalities secretary, said that the “BAME communities need answers”.

“There is a gross irony in delaying the release of a report into the unequal suffering of the BAME community, on the basis of global events that relate to the suffering of black communities around the world”, she said.

“If anything, recent events make the release of this report all the more urgent.

“If the Government is serious about tackling racial injustice, they should not be shying away from understanding into why these injustices exist.”


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