Since the commencement of the Government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic we at Cloisters have been concerned about the lack of focus upon how such measures impact on those with protected characteristics. Of course it has been essential to provide a response and to pass emergency legislation at great speed, but now we need to understand the present and future effect on those who may already be marginalised. There are many areas where the Government response is having an unequal, and potentially discriminatory impact on those groups.
We have written about many aspects of this in our blogs in March and April but our submission to the House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee, we highlight the unequal impact and potentially discriminatory impact on women – in particular pregnant women – in employment, and upon disabled people in the provision of goods and services. The Committee has called on the Government to publish an Equalities Assessment of the Coronavirus Act; but it is vital to focus on these issues now rather than wait until such an Assessment is forthcoming, in order that the adverse impacts are identified to avoid further lasting damage at this extraordinary time.