The financial impact of the pandemic

A review of the literature

abrdn Financial Fairness Trust and University of Bristol - December 2021

The University of Bristol's Personal Finance Research Centre reviewed over 240 documents included official statistics, academic journal articles and research reports produced by academics, think tanks, research institutes, charities, and public bodies. The report assessed the overall financial impact of the pandemic on UK households, and impacts by age, sex, race and disability.

Key findings:

  • Although the macro-economic forecasts for the UK are comparatively positive, at a household level the situation is more mixed.
  • Those on higher incomes were generally protected from income loss, whilst those on lower incomes suffered a significant drop in living standards. This fall was "remarkably consistent" across the groups who experienced the worst impacts of the pandemic – including people in insecure work and young adults, disabled people and some ethnic minorities.
  • The labour market effects of the pandemic were less pronounced than was first forecast, and the Government job support schemes were broadly successful. However, those most severely impacted were those who were already in a precarious position before the pandemic.

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Rapid evidence review