Majority of Brits believe Covid has widened gap between rich and poor

Fears over rising inequality as majority of Britons believe Covid pandemic has widened gap between richest and poorest

  • 56 per cent of Brits believe that national lockdowns have increased inequality
  • Over half the population believe mental health is biggest casualty of pandemic
  • The data comes from a new study conducted by the Social Mobility Commission

The majority of us believe the pandemic has widened the gap between the most and least well-off, a research group said yesterday.

And over half of the population believe that mental health has been the greatest casualty of the crisis, according to the Social Mobility Commission.

Its report said 56 per cent of Britons think that lockdowns have increased inequality. 

The last year has seen salaried middle-class office staff working from home while lower-paid and often young service sector workers have been furloughed or have lost their jobs.

The majority of us believe the pandemic has widened the gap between the most and least well-off, a research group said yesterday (stock image)

The Government-sponsored commission said there was deep concern over social division and four out of five of us now think there is a large gap between classes. 

There is ‘growing evidence that those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are being most affected by the pandemic’, the report said.

It added: ‘Young people from the poorest backgrounds are losing their jobs, while families are trapped in cramped housing, sometimes unable to afford basic necessities. Children from disadvantaged families, often without digital access, are falling behind at school.’

The findings, based on a YouGov poll of 4,693 people, indicated that 55 per cent think the greatest impact of the pandemic has been on mental health, while 44 per cent believe the greatest effect has been difficulties caused by a lack of social contact.

Over half of the population believe that mental health has been the greatest casualty of the crisis, according to the Social Mobility Commission (stock image)

Just over a quarter said employment opportunities have been most affected and 22 per cent pointed to the shutdown of schools and education.

Steven Cooper, from the commission, which is to be moved into the Cabinet Office in Whitehall as part of the Government’s levelling up programme, said: ‘The pandemic has had a devastating impact on jobs, training and mental health, particularly among the most disadvantaged groups. This poll dramatically underlines public concern about growing social inequality. Government, employers and educators should listen and act.

‘The most disadvantaged – at home, school or work – should now be put centre stage in any recovery plan.’

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