Amongst many of the financial issues Covid-19 has wrought in the short run, the social issues are no less damaging but are not quite as obvious.
A report by Lockdown living, finds there is a stark generational housing divide. The report finds that young people are more likely to be locked down in smaller, overcrowded homes with no access to gardens than older age groups (Hill, 2020).
While it may be no surprise to those aware of the situation younger people find themselves in, particularly with regards to housing, what is concerning is the scale and length of time for those affected. The report goes on to conclude, “both striking and worrying as we enter a reopening phase that will see many people continue to work from home, alongside the risks of further local or national lockdowns” (Hill, 2020).
The unintended consequences of local lockdowns or increased working from home have not been taken into account. Many of which could be quite serious as many policies devised by government over the course of the past few months, have been understandably rushed.
Race and Ethnicity
This is not just a case of generational housing inequality. Race and Ethnicity again feature heavily.
It comes as no surprise that the report found that ethnicity plays a major role in determining the quality of household living conditions.
Nearly 40% of under-16s from black and minority ethnic households have no obvious garden, compared with 17% of white children. Close to a quarter live in a poor-quality environment.
Ethnic minorities are more likely to be in living in poverty in the UK. Alex Beer, the welfare programme head at the Nuffield Foundation, said: “This report provides further evidence that Covid-19 is exacerbating many existing inequalities, with younger people and people from minority ethnic groups disproportionately affected.”
This deepening of inequalities comes at the end of a decade of austerity, numerous housing inequalities. It will not come as any surprise to see the deepest recession ever on record, hit disadvantaged and minorities harder still
Hill, A. (2020) ‘Covid-19 exposes stark generational housing divide, UK report says’, The Guardian, 3rd July [Online]. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/03/covid-19-exposes-stark-generational-uk-housing-divide-report-says (Accessed 14 July 2020).