Since the pandemic, people are more aware of rising inequalities under the Tories. Ethnic minorities were the worst hit by the virus, and are now bearing the brunt of cuts to the NHS, education and criminal justice system.
So it was welcome news yesterday that the Shadow Equalities Minister Anneliese Dodds announced that a Labour government would create a new Race Relations Act to extend equal pay rights to black, Asian and minority ethnic workers. Disabled workers are also covered. It means that equal pay claims on the basis of ethnicity and disability would be treated as rigorously as those made by women.
The announcement also tackled the embarrassing failure of the government to pay out compensation to mistreated Windrush citizens. Labour is promising to appoint a Windrush commissioner to monitor the compensation scheme, re-establish the team disbanded by the Tories and, if necessary, move the policy out of the Home Office. The move signals an impatience in the Labour Party with the sandbagging that underlies Tory rhetoric. Progress has been painfully slow.
Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence, supported the move and called for more action to tackle structural racism. It is 31 years since Stephen was murdered, but institutionalised racism remains a stubborn feature of British society.
Anneliese Dodds said: “We are proud of our achievements in government, from the landmark Equality Act of 2010 to strengthening protections against discrimination. The next Labour government will go further to ensure no matter where you live in the UK, and whatever your background, you can thrive.”