The Into Sharp Relief – inequality and the pandemic report released by the Equalities, Local Government and Communities Committee mirrors many of our findings. You can find full commentary on this report here with our ELGC Committee DC statement. However, there are a few additional points that we want to emphasise, based on our findings from engagement events held over the last few months, and prior research:
- The committee’s points around the need to engage with people are really important and link to our findings. People we have engaged feel that they have not been considered nor involved in decisions that affect them. They feel forgotten and undervalued. Thus, people feel there is a need for Welsh Government and service providers to engage with people more during the recovery period, rooting this into best practice. This includes proper co-production of programmes and plans, involving a range of equality groups.
- We agree with the finding that the most deprived people are suffering the most. Our research has highlighted how the Coronavirus has brought to light existing inequalities. We heard that austerity cuts have fallen disproportionately on women, disabled people, carers, BAME people, and older people. This lack of access to crucial services has been exacerbated by COVID-19, as services which have already been cut and specialist services removed have been even more difficult to access. Therefore, we agree with the recommendation that Welsh Government should adhere to the intent of the upcoming socio-economic duty. In addition, we feel that greater equality impact assessments need to be carried out to ensure that plans and programmes for the recovery do not impact negatively on certain groups. These impact assessments need to involve people across the protected characteristic groups.
“I think there is a considerable amount of age discrimination going on. I have become invisible again.”
- We have found that accessibility around the pandemic has impacted more than just disabled people. We have also found accessibility issues for older people and people from BAME backgrounds. Therefore, accessibility should be considered as an issue for a range of groups and these should be tackled through greater use of robust equality impact assessments.
- Whilst the report somewhat references the mental health impacts of the pandemic, we have found this to be one of the greatest impacts within our research. We provide evidence below of its impacts and what should be done to address this. Mental health impacts need to be greater acknowledged as it has affected on various groups in different ways. Therefore, as we recommend, greater tailored support is crucial.
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Diverse Cymru is a pan-Wales equality and diversity charity – working to ensure equality for all. Diverse Cymru’s vision is to help create a nation without prejudice or discrimination, where every person is equal and diversity is celebrated, and our mission is to eliminate discrimination and inequality.