Report uncovers the financial pressures caused by COVID-19

Date: 27th October 2020
Category: Child poverty

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In March 2020, Action for Children launched its Coronavirus Emergency Fund in response to the increasing financial pressures felt by families, children and young people. The report uses evidence from Emergency Fund applications and a survey of frontline service staff to form recommendations to both the UK and devolved governments on what action is required to support families’ financial situation and to reduce child poverty rates.

Analysis of applications for the Emergency Fund showed 37% were single parents, 19% had one or more children with special educational needs and disabilities, and 10% of households had one or more young carer.

The financial pressures associated with having all the family at home full-time meant 37% reported the increase in household costs being an issue. For 29% of households, they reported that household finances were already an issue before the crisis, and they were already in receipt of welfare benefits. Thirty percent (30%) of households reported struggling to access enough welfare benefits to meet their daily living costs. Additionally, 40% were recorded as struggling to feed their children and 31% lacked access to the resources necessary to educate their children at home.

The impact of these financial strains led to 37% of one or more adults experiencing a mental health concern and 23% having one or more children struggling with their mental health

From the frontline key workers survey, 86% of staff felt that the crisis had left the family finances of the children they work with worse off. Sixty-six percent (66%) of staff predicted that family incomes would worsen over the next six months. Eighty-three percent (83%) of staff said they had provided extra emotional support to parents beyond the support the workers gave to the Emergency Fund applicants; 67% had provided learning support or activities to families; and 66% had provided extra emotional support to children.

  • Read the report and Action for Children’s recommendations here.