Coronavirus pandemic sends poverty stats soaring in UK

Updated: Apr 06, 2020, 07:37 IST | Agencies | London

Over the past fortnight, almost one million adults in the UK have applied for Universal Credit, the government's main form of state aid

A man walks past a Coronavirus-inspired graffiti. Pic/AFP
A man walks past a Coronavirus-inspired graffiti. Pic/AFP

The Coronavirus pandemic is increasing poverty in Britain, where levels are already high after a decade of austerity triggered by the global financial crisis, according to experts. Some 4.2 million children are poor, or around 30 percent of the total, government figures show.

The situation is worsening with Britons losing jobs en masse as the UK experiences lockdown. "The risk of poverty is particularly high for workers in sectors like hospitality and retail where people are more likely to be on low wages and in insecure work," said Dave Innes, head of economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an organisation for social change.

Over the past fortnight, almost one million adults in the UK have applied for Universal Credit, the government's main form of state aid. That is nearly 10 times the level in an average two-week period. "If families who earned decent wages before the pandemic move on to the Universal Credit, they will very suddenly find themselves living in poverty," Louisa McGeehan, director at Child Poverty Action Group UK said

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