Skip to main content

Coronavirus (Covid 19) inquiry launched

30 March 2020

The Women and Equalities Committee wants to hear about the different and disproportionate impact that the Coronavirus – and measures to tackle it - is having on people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission and other organisations have expressed concerns that there may be a particular impact on some people who have protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: age, disability, sex, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Caroline Nokes, said:

“In these extraordinary times, it is as important as ever that the Government considers how its actions to tackle the coronavirus impact differently on different communities. Passing emergency legislation at great speed has been essential. Now we need to understand the present and future effect on those who may already be marginalised. We are listening, and we need your evidence to help us to help the Government consider equalities issues, to ensure that its policies and plans are as effective as possible.”

As the Government makes extensive plans to support and protect the population, the Committee would like to find out more about the impact that Government measures including emergency legislation are having on people with these protected characteristics.

  • Have all the relevant equality issues been considered?
  • Are there any unforeseen consequences?
  • If there are problems, what could be done differently/ better?

Examples which the Committee has heard about include:

The Committee is conscious that there may be many more equality impacts and is keen to hear from individuals and from organisations on these questions:

  • How have people have been affected by the illness or the response to it?
  • Have there been specific impacts on people due to them having a protected characteristic?
  • Are there any unforeseen consequences to measures brought in to ease the burden on frontline staff?

The Government has said current measures will be reviewed in three weeks' time, and measures in the Coronavirus Act be voted on again in 6 months' time:

  • What needs to change or improve, which could be acted on in three weeks' time?
  • What needs to change or improve, which could be acted on in 6 months' time?

The Committee would like to receive responses by 30 April. However, evidence submitted after that time will still be useful as the Committee will continue to review the situation and scrutinise the Government.

Any evidence directly relevant to the Government's three week review of the current measures should be provided as soon as possible.

Further information

Image: Pixabay/Coronavirus