Caught in a (Covid) trap

Incomes, savings and spending through the coronavirus crisis

In this briefing note we examine how the family finances of working-age adults have been affected since Covid-19 gripped the nation this spring. Drawing on new data from a representative survey of 6,000-plus working-age adults fielded in mid-September, we take a close look at how incomes, spending and saving changed during both the lockdown (April to June) and re-opening (July to September) periods.

What emerges is a complex picture of winners and losers across the population. There are families who have increased their saving in the crisis; others who have had big incomes falls but been protected by policy; and still others that have fallen through the cracks. As we enter the winter months and a second lockdown, this note provides a clear case for further income support if significant hardship is to be forestalled.