Shabana has written to Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health at Birmingham City Council, regarding recent correspondence with the Government on multigenerational families.
Last month, Shabana raised concerns that those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and those living with elderly relatives could be put at an increased risk of infection from the coronavirus, in a letter to First Secretary of State Dominic Raab MP.
Shabana also tabled several questions asking the Government whether the living circumstances of people in multi-generational households would be considered when social distancing measures are amended.
The Government has since responded to these questions, stating that they are working with sector representatives to see how they can best support local authorities in identifying at-risk groups, signposting and matching needs to services, and supporting the voluntary and community sector.
In light of this response, Shabana has written to Dr Justin Varney asking him to outline what steps Birmingham City Council plans to take to address additional vulnerabilities in its ongoing Covid-19 response.
The letter also asks the Council to confirm what support it has received from central government regarding identifying and supporting at-risk groups in its Covid-19 strategy.
You can read her letter in full below.
Letter to the Director of Public Health
Dear Dr Justin Varney,
The COVID-19 pandemic poses major public health and economic challenges for everyone across our country. As our country begins to chart a path to ease the lockdown, many of my constituents and the wider public are becoming increasingly anxious as to what any relaxing of the current restrictions on social contact will look like.
There are many factors to consider as the Government pursues its exit strategy. Last month I wrote to the First Secretary of State, Dominic Raab MP, underlining the urgent need to consider different types of household living situations alongside important overarching factors such as testing and contact tracing.
My Birmingham Ladywood constituency for instance has a high proportion of families, predominantly of south-Asian descent, who live with elderly relatives in sometimes particularly overcrowded conditions. This type of household may not be typical for every part of our country but when twinned with the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities, I fear that these communities may have been put at an increased risk of infection early on in the pandemic.
I enclose for your review the written parliamentary question I submitted to the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, and his response, on this issue.
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the living circumstances of people in multi-generational households will be taken into account by the Government when social distancing measures are potentially amended.
My Department continues to work closely with local authorities to manage the impacts of Covid-19 on households and the most vulnerable in our society.
The Government is keen to support local authorities in identifying and responding to additional vulnerability created by the Covid-19 outbreak both through existing support and engaging civil society to provide further assistance.
We are working with sector representatives to see how we can best support local authorities in identifying at-risk groups, signposting and matching needs to services, and supporting the voluntary and community sector.
In light of the Minister’s response I would be grateful if you could outline what steps Birmingham City Council plans to take to address additional vulnerabilities, such as those faced by my constituents living in multigenerational families, in its ongoing Covid-19 response. I would also be grateful if you could inform me what support, if any, the Council has received from central government regarding identifying and supporting at-risk groups in its Covid-19 strategy.
Shabana Mahmood MP
Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Ladywood