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27 May, 2020 Open access

‘Stark disparity’ in protections offered to different groups during COVID-19 crisis threatens a growth in existing inequalities, warns IPPR

Highlighting the social risks that people now face in the UK, IPPR launches a programme to 'reimagine' a future welfare state

The 'stark disparity' in protections offered to different groups during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis threatens a growth in existing inequalities, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has warned. 

In 'The decades of disruption: New social risks and the future of the welfare state', the IPPR highlights that the economic shock resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic follows a great 'risk shift' experienced by people in the UK over recent decades, where the costs of ill health, unemployment, becoming a parent or having a disability, have increasingly been borne by individuals, rather than by employers or the state.

In addition, while acknowledging that government financial assistance has been the decisive factor in protecting businesses and livelihoods in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the IPPR suggests that it has nevertheless fallen short. In particular, the IPPR highlights that -

As a result, launching a programme to 'reimagine' the welfare state that might emerge from the current crisis, the IPPR argues that - if the welfare state is to evolve - five paradigm shifts are needed - 

However, the IPPR cautions that - 

'Escaping from path dependence will only happen if there is a strong social and political consensus for change, with the support of coalitions formed across economic, demographic and political faultlines.'

For more information, see The decades of disruption: New social risks and the future of the welfare state from ippr.org