Much of this week has been dominated by the tragic happenings in the US and the subsequent global protests, which we will focus on in this week’s report.
Thursday saw Angela Merkel the German chancellor announce a fiscal stimulus worth €130 bn. The stimulus is due to be made up in several parts and will include a three percent cut in value added tax and €300 per child given to every family1. More woe in manufacturing has been seen in both the US and the Eurozone. Survey data suggested a pick-up in May; however it fell well short of pre-crisis levels2.
By contrast, positive market news can be found when looking at the online grocery market. It will come as no surprise that with us all in lockdown, online grocer sales have jumped up, both here and in America. Recent research has shown that UK grocery sales increased by a record 14% last quarter3.
Black Lives Matter
The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis has initiated a string of protests across the US and in cities around the world. This act of police brutality has ignited fury and has been used as a rallying cry for those who wish to see justice and greater action to address racism4. People have joined the chorus of Black Lives Matter in order to draw attention to the violence inflicted against people of colour by the police. As the cause has gathered momentum, it has drawn focus to other ways that racism exerts its influence.
This civil unrest comes at a time when coronavirus is being shown to have a disproportionate effect on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people. An official report into the disparities showed that BAME groups face an increased risk of death of up to 50% when compared to white Britons5. When questioned about this at the daily briefing on the 2nd of June, Matt Hancock was unwilling to give a concrete response about whether an inquiry would be held into the causes of the higher mortality rates amongst the BAME population and ways to address it6. In addition, a recent Guardian report revealed that BAME people in England were 54% more likely to be fined under the new coronavirus rules than white people: BAME people account for 15.5% of the population of England, yet received 22% of the coronavirus lockdown fines7.
It is time for us to reflect on the ways that prejudice still shapes our society and how we can contribute to the solution. It seems that many of us have taken it upon ourselves to learn more about racism in modern societies, as popular books on the subject are sold out on Amazon and other online book shops. Perhaps this is a sign, that we are acknowledging the pervasive inequalities that still plague not just the US, but the UK too, and are trying to address them.
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