Policy Watch

An eye on policy changes in Ireland, the UK and beyond

Race and Ethnicity in NI | Covid-19, Education and Inequality

General  |  Mon Jun 28 2021

Race and Ethnicity in NI

Black Lives Matter protestors welcomed the decision not to prosecute anyone for taking part in last year's demonstration, as did members of the public and Legislative Assembly members, after the decision was made public by the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service. The Police Ombudsman for NI had already announced an investigation into a complaint about policing received from a Derry participant in a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020.

Covid-19, Education and Inequality

Local research in England found that Covid-19 had sharpened attendance inequalities, with children on free school meals, in contact with children’s services or with special educational needs disproportionately likely to be absent. The UK government has been condemned for an 'insufficient' £1.4bn package to redress children's lost learning during Covid-19. Leaders in the educational sector said that this showed the government's lack of understanding of the extent of harm caused by disruptions to education during the pandemic, particularly amongst disadvantaged students. The government’s own education recovery commissioner, who had reportedly requested ten times the amount allocated, resigned in protest.

While the Big Issue published an overview of UK policy on free school meals over the decades, the UK organisation Sustainable Food Places recognised Bristol and a number of other UK cities for their efforts in areas such as combatting food poverty and reducing food waste.

A review of data from 12 UK health studies found marked inequalities in disruption to routine healthcare due to the pandemic, with impacts disproportionately pronounced among disadvantaged groups including older people and people from minority ethnic backgrounds. The UK Equality and Human Rights Commission published an online tracker of the government's performance of its human rights duties on a scale from 'regression' (dark red) to 'sustained progress' (dark green).

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