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12 January, 2021 Open access

While average household spending has fallen during the Covid-19 pandemic, one in three low-income families have experienced increased spending pressures

Resolution Foundation calls on government to maintain £20 'uplift' to universal credit and provide more targeted support to families with children

While average household spending has fallen during the Covid-19 pandemic, many low-income families have experienced increased spending pressures, the Resolution Foundation has found.

In Pandemic Pressures: Why families on a low income are spending more during Covid-19, the Resolution Foundation looks in detail at how the living standards of families with dependent children on a low income have changed since the pandemic began, and finds that, while average household spending has fallen during the pandemic, one in three families within the low-income cohort report increased spending.

The Resolution Foundation suggests that three factors underpin why this is happening - 

As a result, and recommending that the government commit to maintaining the £20 'uplift' to universal credit and provide more targeted support to families with children, the report concludes - 

'Overall, the evidence reported here shines an unforgiving light on the absence of targeted, adequate support for families on a low income, who face the combined insecurity of Covid-19 and their financial precarity and everyday struggles. It underlines how important it is to understand properly differential experiences, and to document the uneven and unequal impacts of the pandemic on changes to spending patterns and their consequences. This is especially pressing in a context of a third national lockdown and the return to homeschooling, and the resultant need to encourage policy makers to better support families with dependent children living on low incomes.'

For more information, see Pandemic Pressures: Why families on a low income are spending more during Covid-19 from resolutionfoundation.org