Not all recoveries are created equal. Depending on where you look, across the UK people can be fully or mostly recovered from the coronavirus crisis, or not at all.
Data from Lowell’s Financial Vulnerability Index, which measures how reliant people are on social welfare, credit cards and alternative financial products, shows where in the country people are bouncing back. The map illustrates as much – the darker the blue, the greater the recovery. In Wiltshire and the Cotswolds, people were more financially secure in the closing months of 2021 than at the start of Covid-19. For them, the number of residents reliant on emergency savings, in credit or nearing default was lower than during the UK’s first nationwide lockdown.
But in places such as Birmingham and central Liverpool, as well as neighbourhoods in west Yorkshire, financial insecurity was higher than at the start of Covid-19.
This regional variation in recovery is risky for the economy as a whole. If at the end of 2021 you were already financially vulnerable, and more so than before Covid-19, then the recent rise in fuel bills and the general cost of living is likely to hit you harder than the average Briton. What this map and data tells us is where people are likely to be hit hard and where more support may be needed.
Financial insecurity is not just the reserve of the built-up boroughs of red-brick England, however. Cornwall was hit hard in the early months of Covid-19. Its tourist economy dried up, and seasonal work didn’t bounce back as much as it did in urban England. In Truro and Falmouth, household financial vulnerability is also higher than it was at the start of Covid. Blackpool, meanwhile, home to some of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods has, in most parts, recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
For data on UK politics and policy, visit State of the Nation.