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Covid pandemic making job losses and inequality worse for ethnic minority communities, MSP warns

Maggie Chapman MSP

A North-East MSP has hit out at the levels of racism and inequality experienced by ethnic minority communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Maggie Chapman says hate crime has rocketed across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire recently, and says ethnic minority communities have been hardest hit by lockdown.

She says hate crime is up by 14.5% in Aberdeen and by 23% in Aberdeenshire.

Ms Chapman, who was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa, referred to findings from the Grampian Regional Equality Council about racial inequalities in housing, health, education employment, justice and more in the region.

“Ethnic minorities have suffered more job losses during Covid,” she said in Holyrood.

“Africans have the highest percentage of degree-educated people, but the highest unemployment rates.”

‘Significant’ racial inequalities

She called for the Scottish Government to address the concerns.

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison told her: “Our immediate priority is to ensure an equal and anti-racist recovery from Covid-19.”

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison.

She said it’s backed by a £21 million fund which can help develop anti-racism policies.

Plight of asylum seekers in Aberdeen

Ms Chapman said asylum seekers in Aberdeen hotels have maintenance support provided by a private company and only £8 a week to live on.

“What more can we do so these people are not further marginalised?” She said.

Ms Robison responded: “It is concerning, the rise in hate crime, and something we should all take seriously.

“Support during the pandemic came from development of the Ethnic Minority Resilience Network to help individuals and families during this time.

“It has provided over £312,000 to support minority ethnic communities and is particularly focused on young and older people.”

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