This briefing paper explains measures taken by the Government during the coronavirus outbreak to assist households to retain their homes and enable local authorities to tackle the specific challenges faced by rough sleepers. The paper covers lifting of the ban on evictions from 20 September In England and Wales and the introduction of extended notice periods. The paper is being updated regularly to take account of new developments.
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The Backbench Business Committee has scheduled a debate to consider the following motion:
- That this House is concerned about the level of deaths from COVID-19 among Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; notes that structural inequalities and worse health outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic people go hand in hand; calls on the Government to (a) review the reports by NHS England, PHE, ONS, (b) set out in detail the scope and time- frame of that review and (c) urgently put a plan in place to prevent avoidable deaths.
The debate will take place on Thursday 18 June 2020 and will be led by Dawn Butler.
The debate follows two publications from Public Health England (PHE) looking at the effect of Covid-19 on Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities:
- Covid-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes, PHE, 2 June 2020
- Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups, PHE, 16 June 2020
PHE’s review on disparities provided a descriptive review of data on disparities in the risk and outcomes from Covid-19. PHE said that the review confirmed “that the impact of Covid-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them.”.
The review also reported that the risk of dying among those diagnosed with Covid-19 was higher in BAME groups than in White ethnic groups.
In a 4 June 2020 press release, the Government’s Equality Hub announced that following the release of the PHE review, the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, would lead the government in a programme of work, which amongst other things, would review the effectiveness and impact of current actions being taken to lessen disparities in Covid-19 infection rates and deaths.
PHE’s report on the impact of Covid-19 on BAME groups provided a summary of stakeholder insights into factors affecting the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities. PHE identified a number of emerging themes from sessions with the stakeholders, including longstanding inequalities, increased risk of exposure to and acquisition of Covid-19 (particularly around occupation, travel and housing), and racism, discrimination, stigma, fear and trust.
On 15 June 2020, the Prime Minister announced a cross-government commission to “investigate all aspects of inequality”.
 COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes, PHE, 2 June 2020
 Next steps for work on COVID-19 disparities announced, Gov.uk, 4 June 2020
 Rather than tear some people down we should build others up (£), The Telegraph, 15 June 2020; reproduced on Gov.uk [accessed 16 June 2020]
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To support the self-employed through the coronavirus outbreak the Government has introduced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
A general debate on the Rohingya humanitarian crisis and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been scheduled for Thursday 24 September 2020 in the Main Chamber. This debate was selected by the Backbench Business Committee.