Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

A collective initiative by the economic research community to answer questions from policy-makers and the public about the economics of the Covid-19 crisis and the recovery

How will the Welsh workforce be affected by the firebreak lockdown?

The new restrictions in Wales may be highly damaging for workers and businesses if proper government support packages are not in place. But if the short-term measures succeed in suppressing the virus, they could pave the road to a quicker recovery.

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How is Ireland’s healthcare system coping with coronavirus?

Hospital capacity constraints have been a key factor in Ireland’s policy response to Covid-19. But as demand for healthcare continues to grow, and with the risk of a renewed surge of the virus, new thinking will be required to meet healthcare needs and support economic recovery.

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How can public health messages promote compliance with protective measures?

Public buy-in to Covid-19 policies like mask wearing and quarantining remains essential. More effective government communication would frame the potential outcomes from compliance or non-compliance – and target different parts of society with tailored messages.

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How best should school resources be deployed in response to the Covid-19 crisis?

The Covid-19 crisis is likely to add to existing educational inequalities and create new ones. Cuts to spending per pupil will make it harder for schools in England to address these major challenges, particularly in more disadvantaged areas.

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Are small businesses ready to compete as consumers move online?

The shift to online shopping prompted by Covid-19 restrictions presents a challenge for businesses, particularly those that are not used to e-commerce. Small firms and micro enterprises can clearly benefit from digital technologies, but many struggle to compete in online markets.

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How is coronavirus affecting the insurance industry?

Covid-19 has caused severe disruption for insurance companies, not least as they are in the business of pricing risks and a pandemic was thought of as a low probability event. But the economic fallout from the crisis may act as a catalyst for positive change in the industry.

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How might costly sovereign debt default in emerging economies be averted?

Many low- and middle-income countries face problems servicing their external debts while tackling the global health emergency and the ensuing economic damage. To ensure debt sustainability, the existing stock of debt needs to be restructured, potentially involving substantial debt write-downs.

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Should selective government support replace the job furlough schemes?

As the UK’s job furlough scheme winds down, the government has shifted towards measures to support businesses and employees in local lockdowns. But even if Covid-19 eases, policy-makers will need to retain the capacity for selective sectoral assistance – and clarity on ‘state aid’.

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How has coronavirus affected pubs, cafes and restaurants?

The restaurant industry was effectively brought to a halt by lockdown. Since re-opening, there have been modest signs of recovery, but social distancing and widespread working from home continue to limit progress – and the sector is typically hit hard by recessions.

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Videos

Covid-19 and the economy: what happened?

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Labour market scarring on young people

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Covid-19 and child poverty

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Funded by

UKRI Economic and Social Research Council
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