Coronavirus: national financial impact tracker launched

8 April 2020

Standard Life Foundation has today [8 April] launched a financial impact tracker to monitor the economic effects of the pandemic, and support offered from the government, on people’s finances. The tracker will initially be carried out on a monthly basis by YouGov for six months.

Researchers will question 6,500 people across the UK on how their personal and household finances have been affected by the pandemic and the likely impact it will have over the next few months. They will be asked about their income, payment of bills, borrowing, debt, savings and other financial changes, including their ability to pay for essentials such as food.

The tracker will identify the demographic characteristics and socio-economic circumstances of who has been affected, as well as the strategies that are being used by people who have been adversely affected by the crisis to make ends meet.  It will also identify how many, and what types of people, are expecting their financial circumstances to deteriorate over the coming months.  The report will cover the UK population as a whole, as well and the four individual nations of the UK. Within England, it will identify the regions where the impact has been greatest.

The tracker will monitor levels of anxiety stemming from financial issues and the use of, as well as potential need for, money guidance, debt advice or further support from government or other agencies. The report will identify the numbers of people using government support such as the jobs retention scheme and support for the self-employed and those facing a drop in income that are not covered by either of these measures. It will provide a monthly picture of how the nation is responding to the economic shock created by the crisis. Initial findings should be available at the end of April and will provide in-depth analysis of how the nations’ financial well-being has been affected by the crisis.

A similar survey is currently being fielded in countries outside the UK including Norway, so this will enable us to compare how the UK is faring against other countries.

Mubin Haq, CEO of Standard Life Foundation, said:

“It is vital we have a better understanding of the impact the pandemic is having on people’s finances. We particularly need to know whether the help offered by government and employers is sufficient, which groups are missing out and where resources should be directed.  Although we are all affected, we are not all affected equally and those with the least resources are likely to be hardest hit.

“The launch of the national financial impact tracker is just one of the ways Standard Life Foundation is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. We have already been in touch with our current grantees to enable them to change their work to respond, and we have also launched a fast-track application scheme for making new grants.”