Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

Business, big & small

What will happen if international trade and mobility are permanently reduced?

It is unclear how long restrictions on trade and travel will remain in place – and too soon to say if coronavirus will permanently reduce cross-border flows of goods, services and people. But there is plenty of evidence on the potential damage to the world economy.

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What does coronavirus mean for the future of sport and fitness clubs?

With the closure of indoor sports facilities, many people have shifted to alternative forms of exercise. Even after re-opening, this is likely to affect gym owners and staff. Some previous gym users may also be getting less exercise, leading to concerns about rising obesity.

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How has coronavirus affected pubs, cafes and restaurants?

The pubs, cafes and restaurants sector was effectively brought to a halt by lockdown. Even with re-opening, it will be slow to recover because of the challenges of imposing social distancing and because eating and drinking out are particularly hard hit by recessions.

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Is the banking sector safer than during the global financial crisis?

Stress tests of major banks in 2019 suggested that the sector was sufficiently capitalised and had enough liquidity to withstand big economic shocks and continue to meet the financing needs of households and firms. But is it safer than 10 years earlier? And is it safe enough to cope with economic damage from coronavirus?

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What future for apprenticeships after coronavirus?

The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic uncertainty are causing interruptions to apprenticeship training. This is putting the future of apprenticeships at risk just at the time when they will be most needed to protect employment and sustain the recovery.

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How will coronavirus affect the UK’s oil and gas industry?

The oil and gas sector is wrestling with the dual shock of Covid-19 and substantial falls in the oil price, some of which predated the crisis. What are the implications for the industry – and for exploration and development activity in the UK continental shelf?

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Does the world economy face a danger from rising protectionism?

The Great Recession of 2008/09 seems to have broken the link between recessions and higher barriers to imports. During the coronavirus crisis, new forms of protectionism, such as export controls and trade-distorting stimulus programmes pose a more serious risk to unfettered trade.

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What has coronavirus taught us about working from home?

The pandemic has now forced millions of people to work from home, typically those with higher incomes and in higher-income economies. Surveys suggest that, to date, employers have been positively surprised by the efficacy of this new way of working.

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Sport: what could be the long-term effects of coronavirus?

Professional sports events without spectators look set to be the norm for the foreseeable future. How is this likely to affect the economic viability of clubs, how might fans respond and what are the potential implications for grassroots participation in sport?

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How is coronavirus affecting the self-employed?

The self-employed are being hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 crisis. Many have been offered a lifeline through the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – but does it go far enough?

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Why is uncertainty so damaging for the economy?

The Covid-19 pandemic and policy responses have made life much more uncertain for everyone – individuals, organisations and governments. What impact does all this uncertainty have on the economy and how can policy-makers respond?

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Which firms and industries have been most affected by Covid-19?

Almost all UK businesses have been badly affected by the spread of Covid-19, but some industries have been hit harder than others. Financial market data and surveys of firms themselves provide insights into the scale of the impact on sales, employment, supply chains and business uncertainty.

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Should Brexit trade policy changes be delayed because of Covid-19?

Brexit has happened – but the nature of the UK’s future economic and political relationship with the European Union is yet to be determined. There is a strong case for extending the transition period to allow both sides to focus on dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.

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How can we encourage medical breakthroughs to combat Covid-19?

Public and private sector organisations across the world are working on vaccines and medicines to fight the coronavirus. What kinds of incentives are most effective in promoting the development of new medical technologies and the rapid manufacture of tests and treatments?

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Funded by

UKRI Economic and Social Research Council
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