We use necessary cookies that allow our site to work. We also set optional cookies that help us improve our website.
For more information about the types of cookies we use, and to manage your preferences, visit our Cookies policy here.

New poverty report shows London and low-income communities disproportionally affected by COVID-19

Author: Trust for London

The impacts of COVID-19 have particularly hit London as well as individuals, families and communities that were already struggling the most prior to the pandemic, according to figures released today in London’s Poverty Profile report.  

Commissioned every year by Trust for London and WPI Economics, London’s Poverty Profile provides evidence and insight on poverty and inequality in London. This year’s report looked at the distribution of health impacts, as well as considering how work, living standards and wellbeing have been impacted.

It shows that London has been hit particularly hard, both in terms of citizens’ health and its economy, compared to other parts of England. It also reveals that those living on the lowest incomes in the Capital have been disproportionally affected.

Key findings

Figure 14: Percentage change in PAYE jobs compared to February 2020 (February 2018 - February 2021 (Feb 2020 = 0))

Figure 22: Number of Londoners aged 16-64 on benefits (August 2014 - August 2020)

Figure 26: Food packages distributed by food banks to adults and children (April-September 2019 and April-September 2020)

Key findings:

However, there has been some good news.

Figure 25: Types of court repossession in London (2003 - 2020)

London’s Poverty Profile has been tracking poverty and inequality in London since 2009. This last year has been immensely challenging for everyone. The impact of the pandemic on London has been profound and the economic and health burdens have not been shouldered equally. Covid-19 has put a spotlight on the economic insecurity that many in our city live with and brought conversations about poverty to the fore. Londoners have been hard hit by employment impacts, food insecurity, and increased debt. Yet, we have also seen communities come together, as well as develop innovative partnerships and solutions. As we emerge from the crisis, we must all work together to ensure that no one has to live a life of poverty, and that social and economic prosperity is shared more equitably. More needs to be done to tackle systematic disadvantage faced by certain groups in our city.

Bharat Mehta, Chief Executive at Trust for London

COVID-19 has laid bare the significant economic and social inequalities in our city. Our work shows the economic consequences of Covid-19 have been felt most acutely by individuals, families and communities that were already struggling the most prior to the pandemic. As the country emerges from this crisis, these inequalities must be tackled and the opportunity to remake society and build a better future grasped. Inequality is bad for everyone: together we can make a fairer London for all. Tracking the full impact of the pandemic will take time, as data is released with a significant lag. We will continue to track the impacts via London’s Poverty Profile.

Matthew Oakley, Director at WPI Economics and author of the report