Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, has signed a joint letter to the Prime Minister with more than 70 BAME British figures calling for an independent public inquiry into the disproportionate deaths from COVID-19 amongst Britons from minority backgrounds.

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Demanding answers on BAME deaths linked to COVID-19, the broad coalition of signatories from across civil society includes industry experts and people in public life, such as notable academics, artists, broadcasters and singers.

They call for the inquiry to be broadened to include a focus on the levels of exposure BAME staff are facing, and whether employers are fulfilling their duty of care.

The letter also asks whether government emergency planning had fulfilled the Public Sector Equalities Duty by factoring in the needs of BAME communities.

Faith leaders including Harun Khan, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, and the Very Reverend Rodgers Govender, Dean of Manchester Cathedral, have signed the letter.

On race and health inequalities, the letter says: “COVID-19 is clearly now one of the biggest issues in post-war history, directing a spotlight on race and health inequalities.”

Saying that a “transparent process” would “restore public confidence”, the letter continues:

“By instigating such an inquiry, the Government will provide an opportunity for a range of stakeholders to submit evidence through a transparent process.

“This would help to restore public confidence amongst the UK’s BAME community.

“An inquiry will provide key findings and offer clear recommendations for systemic or transformational change around the role of the public sector and race equality in Britain.”

The full text of the letter can be read on the right/below.

The Office of National Statistics data on deaths by ethnic group

Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by ethnic group, England and Wales: 2 March 2020 to 10 April 2020