Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

Nations, regions & cities

Data: Tiers, jobs and infection rates

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#economicsfest: How can Bristol and the West of England ‘build back better’?

The pandemic is an opportunity to return to something better than ‘normal’, both nationally and in individual cities and regions. Just as Covid-19 has had varied effects across the UK, the recovery process could give local policy-makers the chance to shape the revival.

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How is Scotland’s economy faring in the pandemic?

With coronavirus entering a dangerous phase and winter approaching, the outlook for the Scottish economy has never been more uncertain. Many jobs remain furloughed, working hours have fallen sharply, and activity in the services sector is below where it was a decade ago.

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What has been the impact of Covid-19 on Northern Ireland’s economy?

Given the resurgence of the virus and a bigger fall in Northern Ireland’s GDP than expected, policy is focused on restoring public health and maintaining some stability of jobs and incomes. But delays in tackling underlying economic weaknesses will have long-term costs.

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Data: Covid-19 cases and benefit claims

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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 is coronavirus affecting the Welsh economy?

As across the UK as a whole, the Covid-19 crisis has had a huge impact on the Welsh economy. Despite evidence of a recovery in Wales, the risks of a further spike in infections and forthcoming changes in government support cloud the economic outlook.

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Is India’s low Covid-19 fatality rate a good sign?

India’s comparatively low mortality rate among people with Covid-19 has surprised experts. Some have attributed this to the country’s stringent lockdown and testing strategies, but questions are being raised about the reliability of the data and the accuracy of its interpretation.

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Will coronavirus cause a big city exodus?

Big cities thrive because of the economic and social benefits of proximity – but proximity also helps to spread Covid-19. Does this mean an end to the big city revival of recent years? Much will depend on how quickly we exit the pandemic – and how far the forced experiments of lockdown translate into new norms.

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How is coronavirus affecting local government finances?

Covid-19 is raising the costs and reducing the income of local government. Councils in England could face a £2 billion gap between budget pressures this year and the extra funding they have received. Some may have to make tough choices between depleting reserves or cutting services.

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What does Covid-19 mean for tackling differences in regional productivity?

While sustained improvements in productivity are key to economic progress, we cannot ignore inequalities in the distribution of prosperity, one dimension of which is inequality across places. It is vital to understand what explains differences in regional productivity.

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What are the implications of coronavirus for fiscal devolution in the UK?

The UK’s 1999 devolution settlement means that decisions about the public health response to Covid-19 are made by the three devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. What are the implications for the economic policy response and the future of fiscal devolution?

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Why is Germany's Covid-19 fatality rate comparatively low?

Coronavirus deaths per one million people in Germany are much lower than in France, Italy, Spain and the UK. Explanations include earlier protective measures; an economy better able to accommodate remote work; a well-resourced healthcare system; and high levels of public trust in government.

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Why has coronavirus affected cities more than rural areas?

Why have big cities around the world become coronavirus hotspots, while many smaller towns and rural regions have suffered fewer cases and deaths? And what are the roles of urban density and social interaction when global pandemics become more common?

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How will the economic effects of coronavirus vary across areas of the UK?

There are significant differences in economic performance and wellbeing between and within areas of the UK. The health and economic crisis caused by Covid-19 is likely to exacerbate these existing inequalities.

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Which parts of the UK have been hit hardest by the Covid-19 crisis?

The effects of coronavirus and lockdown on the economy have been very large: UK GDP fell by a record 20.4% in the second quarter (April to June 2020). New data indicate how this economic shock is playing out across the different parts of the country.

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How will Covid-19 affect Northern Ireland’s economy?

The crisis is likely to produce a severe recession in Northern Ireland. Previous experience suggests that the recovery phase could be rather shallow. Indeed, strictly speaking, the region’s economy had not completed its recovery from the last recession before Covid-19 struck.

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How hard will coronavirus hit Scotland's economy?

Just like everywhere else, Scotland’s economy is facing unprecedented stress from the Covid-19 crisis. How it performs in the months ahead will depend on the policy choices of Scottish ministers – and how these differ, complement or cut across UK-wide policies.

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UKRI Economic and Social Research Council
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