From education to employment

Over a third of people on low incomes fear losing their job, warns new research

Andy Cook, Chief Executive of the Centre for Social Justice

@CSJthinktank reveals severe financial stress on Britain’s poorest, exacerbated by Covid-19 lockdowns 

A shocking 37 per cent of low-income Brits are worried about losing their job in the near future, according to a new survey.

In the wake of lockdowns and other measures taken to control the coronavirus pandemic, a poll commissioned by the Centre for Social Justice and conducted by Survation suggests the UK’s most vulnerable are in severe financial trouble.

Along with concerns over job prospects, 37 per cent have also struggled to pay for everyday food, over half of whom (20 per cent of the total) persistently struggle to do so.

Thirty-four per cent have been unable to pay a household bill since the beginning of the pandemic, and 26 per cent have less than £350 saved in case of an emergency, vindicating concerns that inequality will grow during the pandemic.

Just under half (47 per cent) report negative effects on their mental health from the harsh lockdowns of 2020.

This year has also seen a worrying rise in the number of Brits experiencing poverty, with one in six (16 per cent) fearing eviction from their home in the near future and possible homelessness.

In what has proved an already challenging year for the Prime Minister, support is low among the poor for the Conservative Party compared with that for the Labour Party, with only 29 per cent believing the Tories care about low earners and 53 per cent thinking the same of Labour.

A shocking 51 per cent, however, believe ‘that no political party really cares about helping people like me’, indicating widespread disaffection with the political system among Britain’s most vulnerable. Concern over their living conditions is heightened by the devastating effects of isolation and lockdown since March.

The online poll, conducted by Survation, surveyed 1,003 people with household incomes below £16,999.

“More than one in three of those on low incomes are afraid of losing their job in the near future, presumably because of the virus crisis, and nearly as many have been unable to pay a bill, one in five are going hungry and one in six fear being made homeless. Around half are suffering mental health effects.

“This cannot be accepted in twenty-first century Britain. We have more than enough resources, initiative and brainpower to go around and ensure those falling behind are cared for.

“It is an indictment on our current political discourse that a majority of Britain’s poorest do not believe either party will help them. The CSJ’s poll serves as a mandate from the most vulnerable to the most powerful to help them now, or risk undermining the core values the UK stands for, especially concern for the weakest.”

Andy Cook, Chief Executive of the Centre for Social Justice

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