Lockdown has been a disaster for racial equality

Shutting down the economy has wrecked the job market, hitting young black people hard.

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Topics Politics UK

Black Britons have been the hardest hit by youth unemployment in lockdown.

The unemployment rate among young black people rose by over a third in the past year, hitting a staggering 35 per cent, according to research by the Resolution Foundation. The rate for young Asian people rose by three percentage points to 24 per cent, and for young white people it rose by three percentage points to 13 per cent – still bad, but less than half the rate for young black people.

Lockdown has hit Britain’s ethnic-minorities harder than the wider population. This is also clear from the enforcement of lockdown rules: in June last year, it was revealed that ethnic-minority people were nearly 50 per cent more likely than white people to be arrested in London under Covid laws. And a police report in July showed ethnic minorities were 1.6 times more likely to be fined for rule breaches.

Yet despite these obvious racial disparities, self-proclaimed left-wingers and anti-racists have been among the staunchest supporters of lockdown. Owen Jones, for example, was palpably relieved when the government’s ‘police state’ was introduced in March last year. But he then complained when it turned out that the first person wrongly charged under Covid laws was black – having himself supported the crackdown that made it possible.

Lockdown has been a disaster for society as a whole. But it’s been most damaging for poorer and marginalised groups. The sooner all the rules are abolished, the better.

Picture by: Getty.

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