Today I hosted an event with Lloyds Bank for Black-led businesses. During my time as your MP, I have been very aware of the challenges faced by many Black businesses owners when trying to access finance. I have been asking banks to consider what they can do to change this situation. I am pleased that I was able to work with Lloyds on this, and that they are taking steps to address the structural inequalities that remain in our institutions that disproportionately affect Black and other minority ethnic people in the UK.
As I heard today, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on BAME Business found that two-thirds of respondents were not able to successfully access the Covid-19 business support funding provided by the government. BAME-led businesses are highly represented in service industries, most affected by the Covid lockdown. There is still a lot of progress to be made.
We also discussed how we must look at procurement – and this is something that I can take up in my housing portfolio, for example looking at the construction sector and how many of these government contracts go to Black-owned businesses.
I look forward to working with other businesses in Bristol West to ask what they are doing, what more they can do and how we can make measurable improvements in equality in the workplace.