Before coronavirus, an unacceptable 14.5 million people in the UK were caught up in poverty, equating to more than one in five people. Child poverty and in-work poverty had been on the rise for several years and some groups were disproportionately likely to be pulled into poverty. Many of those groups already struggling most to stay afloat have also borne the brunt of the economic and health impacts of COVID-19. These include:
We cannot be sure what happened to overall poverty levels in the first phase of the coronavirus outbreak, when the furlough scheme and temporary benefit uplift were both in place. However, it is clear that poverty will increase if this government support is removed from April 2021, as we face much higher unemployment than pre-coronavirus, as well as the continuing uncertain impact of the end of the Brexit transition period.