ONS: 42% think household finances will get worse during pandemic

Jessica Bird

May 26, 2020

household finances during pandemic

In April, 42% of British people felt their household finances were likely to worsen during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A further 43% felt their financial situation would likely remain the same, while 15% thought it could become stronger.

The areas with the highest proportion of respondents who believe their household finances will worsen during the pandemic were London (48%) and the South East (43%).

Scotland (35%) and the North East (36%) had the smallest proportion who felt their situation was likely to get worse.

The East Midlands was home to the highest proportion of people who felt their household finances might improve, at 21%, followed by the South West at (19%).

About half (51%) of people felt they had enough information about the UK’s plan for dealing with COVID-19, varying from 44% in London to 59% in the East of England.

Three in 10 (30%) did not feel they had enough information; this was highest in Scotland (35%).

Peter Briffett, CEO of income streaming provider Wagestream, said: “It’s no surprise that in all regions of the UK well over a third of people expect their household finances to deteriorate during the next 12 months.

“We are already seeing rising unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the fact that the government’s furlough scheme remains fully in place.

“Few doubt that the UK economy is in for a turbulent few years as it seeks to adjust to the new normal created by the pandemic, and the winding down of the furlough support scheme later in the year is when job losses look set to accelerate.

“Many are predicting seventies-style, double-digit unemployment as the economy seeks to recalibrate and personal finances will be hit hard as a result.

“Londoners and people in the South East are the most bearish around their personal finances.

“Why is hard to know, but it may be because people in the capital and South East are often more leveraged and therefore exposed if they lose their jobs or are earning less.

“Discretionary spending is definitely down and commuting costs have also plummeted but the sheer uncertainty about job prospects means financial stress is rising all the time.

“It’s important that employers look at every way possible to help support the financial position of their staff during the years ahead.”

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