Seven in ten worried that COVID will affect their cost of living  

Matt PalframanDirector, Financial Services Research
April 20, 2021, 8:35 AM UTC

Data from YouGov’s Debt Tracker reveals that three out of five (59%) Brits worry about the impact a recession might have on their finances  

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a source of significant financial strain for many Brits. Alongside rising unemployment and a drop in income for people who are on furlough, reports have indicated that, despite wage growth, workers saw a real-terms pay cut in 2020.  

New YouGov research highlights some of these anxieties in more detail. According to our regular debt tracker survey, over a quarter of Britons have lost income thanks to COVID-19 (27%), and three in ten say it has already had a negative impact on their finances in some form or another (31%). Of those who say it has had a negative impact on their personal or household finances, over half (55%) think it will take a year or more to fully recover, and 9% don’t expect their finances to recover at all.  

But beyond the immediate financial effects of coronavirus, even more Britons are worried about the longer-term effect it will have on their day-to-day lives. Seven in ten are worried that it will increase their cost of living (70% worried vs. 23% not worried), while three in five are concerned about the impact a recession might have on them (59% worried vs. 26% not worried). More than half (56%) are also worried that they will have to pay increased taxes.  

And for many Brits, this anxiety isn’t limited to lost income, higher taxes, or rising expenses. A quarter (24%) are worried that, thanks to COVID-19, they won’t progress in their career or get the pay rises they were hoping for. This is a particular stressor for younger Brits: the proportion who think coronavirus could stymie their professional hopes rises to 45% of those aged 18-24 – and 45% of those aged 25-34. 
Younger Brits are also particularly worried that they won’t be able to pay their housing costs. Half of 18-24-year-olds (49%) and nearly two in five 25-34-year-olds (37%) are concerned that they won’t be able to afford their mortgage or rent compared to just over a quarter (27%) of the public.  

Methodology 

YouGov polled 2167 British adults online in February 2021. The survey was carried out through YouGov Custom.  Results are nationally representative of adults in Great Britain. Find out more about YouGov Custom.