how coronavirus is worsening Britain’s racial wealth gap

Linda J. Dodson

Since coronavirus hit Britain, black people and other ethnic minorities have been more likely than most to lose their income, fall behind on bills or have to apply for Universal Credit. 

Andrea Barry of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a poverty charity, said: “Just as coronavirus has disproportionately affected the health of black and other minority communities, it has also had a disproportionate financial effect – widening existing economic inequalities.”

Even before the pandemic, they were more likely to be out of work or earning less than their white colleagues. This week the Government launched an inquiry into the impact of its coronavirus measures on ethnic minorities. Here we take stock of what they’ll find. 

The earnings gap

While income gaps have been closing fast for some ethnic groups in Britain in recent years, the income gap between the black African and white populations has barely moved since 2002 and the gap has grown for the black Caribbean population. 

Black African workers still earn around £10,000 less a year than white British ones, after housing costs are taken into account, analysis by think tank The Resolution Foundation shows.

Black Caribbean ones have around £7,000 a year less to live on. Black men in the same occupation and with the same qualifications still earn between 15 and 19pc less than their white male counterparts. 

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