This first edition of the Financial Fairness Tracker looks at the changes in household spending and finances in the first month of the pandemic.

In the first three weeks after the UK government introduced the lockdown, an estimated 7 million households (a quarter of all households in the UK) had lost either a substantial part or all of their earned income as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis.

Government support will, when available, go some way to mitigating these income losses. Around four in ten of those who had lost a substantial part of their income as a result of the crisis said that they expected to have some of their (or their partner’s) earned income replaced by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (employee furlough). And two in ten thought that they might be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (the grant to self-employed people).

The immediate consequences of the crisis for UK households are seen in the large numbers (28%) who were experiencing financial difficulties. An estimated 3.1 million households were in serious financial difficulty and a further 4.8 million households were clearly struggling to make ends meet.

Unlike previous macro-economic shocks, however, the current one seems to be hitting all regions of the UK to a similar extent.