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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Resolution Foundation Research on Housing and Covid-19

The UK think tank Resolution Foundation has produced a number of essential reports on the Covid-19 crisis over the past 9 months, including the most recent report focused on the necessity of reforming Statutory Sick Pay to support the Covid-19 recovery phase. In addition to analyses of household and Government spending related to Covid and the impact of low-paid employment, the think tank has produced research focused on the inter-generational impact of the pandemic. A number of their recent reports have focused on the impact of Covid-19 on housing, including a forecast of the potential negative equity crisis in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Coping with housing costs during the coronavirus crisis

The think tank released two reports in 2020 which looked at the impact of housing costs during the coronavirus crisis – based on a survey of over 6,000 people throughout the UK. Key findings include:

  • Renters have taken the biggest earnings hit as a result of the pandemic and are more precariously positioned for the future than homeowners.
  • People needed to access numerous types of support to cover their housing costs, including using borrowed money to pay for rent or mortgages (this was the case for one in ten private renters which was a greater proportion than either social tenants or homeowners).
  • Most households cut back on spending on other items (including essential items such as food and clothing) – this was the case for one in five renters.

Renters more likely to have lost work as a result of Covid-19

Whilst earnings falls were experienced relatively equally across all tenures in the early part of the crisis, by September both private and social renters were more than twice as likely than mortgagors to have lost their job, a finding that was consistent with their work showing that younger and lower-paid workers (who are more likely to be renters) had born the brunt of the Covid-19 jobs crisis. This ties in with recent research by Housing Rights which showed that private renters have submitted more claims for help with housing costs during the pandemic than other types of occupiers. 

Limitations of state support for new claimants

Many households have had to rely on state support for the first time to help pay for their housing costs. These households may not have been fully prepared for the reality of recent programmes of welfare reform.

Tagged In

Benefits, Coronavirus, Research, Affordability
This article was written on 18 January 2021. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.