Small Grant Scheme on Pandemics, Cities, Regions & Industry: Global crisis, local problems: the UK geography of the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis and response
Research team: Prof Julie MacLeavy, Prof David Manley, Katie Cross and Jamie Evans (all University of Bristol)
There are signs that the COVID-19 pandemic has already negatively impacted the finances of households in many Western countries, including the UK, and this damage is likely to extend far beyond the initial lockdown period. However, the effects of the financial impacts are far from evenly distributed. Rather, it is highly likely that they will affect certain groups of people and certain places much more than others. This project uses a range of large-scale survey data from the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies alongside the Understanding Society COVID Panel to explore the differential financial impacts of the pandemic and the range of policy responses introduced to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 – specifically how different people are affected by lockdowns, furlough and job loss as a consequence of the intersections of individual characteristics (place, employment sector, income, dis/ability, age, race and gender), as well as how neighbourhoods contribute to individual resilience or vulnerability (for instance, whether known disadvantages for some ethnic, gender and age groups will be exacerbated in some cities compared to others).
This project will add new knowledge and understanding of the individual and cumulative impacts of COVID-19 (e.g. by place, employment sector, gender etc) that will enable us to identify opportunities and gaps in urban and regional policy support. For instance, by adopting a focus on unemployment and (precarious) work impacts we will establish the needs of the future economy and where infrastructural investment is best targeted (broadband connectivity etc). By looking at area-based impediments and pathways to individual resilience to COVID-19 outcomes we will further nascent understandings of how the pandemic deepens and opens up new social and spatial divides and the (potential) need for radical reforms to reverse the scars of government-driven austerity after the crisis. We are delighted that the Regional Studies Association is supporting us as we undertake this work.