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25 Aug, 2020 12:04

80 percent of low-income UK families worse off amid lockdown-induced economic nosedive – survey

80 percent of low-income UK families worse off amid lockdown-induced economic nosedive – survey

The economic paralysis caused by the UK’s coronavirus lockdown has squeezed hard-up households, a new survey found, with most respondents saying that it’s become more difficult to put food on the table.

Researchers from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Church of England surveyed 285 low-income families and found that eight in ten had taken a sizable financial hit since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A staggering 83 percent of respondents said buying food had become more difficult, while close to half reported that their ability to pay for housing has been negatively affected. Finding cash to cover utilities was an issue for 76 percent, while more than half felt a larger financial burden from child-related expenses. Nearly six in ten households reported that they had issues covering the costs for three or more of these basic essentials, the survey found. 

One respondent explained in an interview that they had lost their job at the start of March, but have been unable to find new work as their son’s nursery had closed as part of the government’s anti-coronavirus measures. 

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“I am in more debt and struggling to pay bills and feed my son and myself,” the respondent said. 

Anxiety, stress, and problems in the home were also commonly-reported occurrences. Twenty-three percent of respondents said they had suffered from relationship problems as Britons struggled to cope with the pandemic and the government’s heavy-handed restrictions. 

The findings paint a troubling picture of the social and economic woes facing the UK as it attempts to bounce back from the health crisis. In August, the UK officially entered recession after its GDP plummeted by 20 percent. The nation also posted the worst unemployment figures since the 2009 economic crisis. 

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) cited the UK’s protracted lockdown measures, which shuttered all ‘non-essential’ businesses, as a major factor behind the severe economic slump. 

Mark Woolhouse, part of the team of scientists and medical professionals who advised Downing Street on its coronavirus response, recently argued that the lockdown should have been a temporary measure and should not be implemented again. 

“I believe history will say trying to control Covid-19 through lockdown was a monumental mistake on a global scale, the cure was worse than the disease,” he said. 

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