Thinktank considers it toughest to hit weak, says policy action is important to repair damage
After their research found that the Covid 19 pandemic has contributed to greater inequality, a leading think tank has called for action to make the UK a fairer place.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that the most vulnerable – low-income people, young people, the least educated and black, Asian and ethnic backgrounds – have been hit hardest by the crisis.
The IFS said that Covid-19 “cruelly exposed huge disparities in how easily we are able to withstand threats to livelihoods, educational progress, physical and mental health,” “These inequalities are closely correlated with preexisting inequalities between groups according to education, income, place of residence, and ethnicity-in ways that are often difficult to disentangle but depressingly familiar.”
The IFS initiated a five-year inequality analysis a year and a half ago, headed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Sir Angus Deaton.
The think tank said in a year-end report that the pandemic had posed problems that could not be stopped.
It was noted in the study that:
In the most disadvantaged areas, mortality rates were almost double those in the least deprived ones.
BAME groups, in part because of their trades, had a higher mortality rate than the white majority.
It was easier for the better paying and more highly trained to cope financially.
The number of paying jobs among college graduates was down 7 percent; it was down 17 percent among non-graduates.
During the lockdown, children from poorer families found it more difficult to complete schoolwork, earned less online lessons, and have been more likely to skip school since September.
Older people benefited from Covid-19’s high mortality rate, but the economic effect was felt by young people, with those under 25 more than twice as likely to lose their jobs than older employees.
“We need to do more to ensure greater economic opportunities for ethnic minority groups and ensure they are not relegated to low-paying and self-employed occupations. They would benefit disproportionately from policies that, for example, provide greater security for self-employed workers and others in insecure jobs, improve health and welfare wages and conditions, and support progress in the labor market.”We need to do more to provide ethnic minority groups with greater economic opportunities and to ensure that they are not relegated to low-paying and self-employed jobs. They would benefit disproportionately from policies that, for example, provide greater security for self-employed workers and others in unsafe jobs, improve wages and conditions for health and welfare, and promote progress
The report also claimed that the “huge educational inequalities that existed before the pandemic” would almost certainly widen without targeted assistance for children who have fallen behind as a result of the epidemic.
The IFS said the possibility of permanently scarring the younger generation will be minimized by helping school leavers and graduates find jobs and training.
Asset prices were supported by initiatives to support the economy by the Bank of England, he said, so it is necessary for the Treasury to support young people and those without assets.
Deaton said, “As vaccines should take us to a world largely free of the pandemic sometime this year, it is imperative to think about policies that will be necessary to repair the damage and that focus on those who have suffered most. We need to build a country where everyone feels like they belong.”