Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

Nations, regions & cities

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 immediate effects of coronavirus, lockdown and the ensuing economic crisis are very large: UK GDP fell by 19.1% in the three months to May. What do the data tell us about how this economic shock is playing out across the different areas of the UK?

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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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