Poverty to increase on post-Covid Island

The Footprint Trust, the Isle of Wight’s specialist fuel poverty charity, has spoken out regarding their concerns about the probable increase in poverty that will hit the Island post- Covid.

The recent report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS)*, highlighted that the Isle of Wight and Torbay populations will be hit the hardest post-Covid-19.  Nine local authorities including; Blackpool, Northumberland, Dorset, Wirral, Gloucestershire, Bury and Lancashire are more vulnerable than average. Torbay and the Isle of Wight stand out even among this group; they are in the top 20% most vulnerable on the health, worker and families deprivation indices.

Heath conditions, the local economy and family problems are likely to be bigger issues following the pandemic. Two areas that stand out as most vulnerable are Torbay and the Isle of Wight, with lots of elderly people, a large tourism and hospitality sector, and areas of social disadvantage. The report states that there is no simple North–South or urban–rural divide in the way that the COVID-19 crisis is affecting health, jobs and families across England.

The report also said that a second spike in infections would prove more serious in places like the Island that have so far had a relatively low infection and death rate.

In relation to the Isle of Wight the report finds that coastal areas are notably vulnerable to both the health and economic impacts of the crisis. Many coastal towns have elderly populations vulnerable to COVID-19 and a lot of low-paid work in the hospitality sector. Many are already deprived, and the crisis could exacerbate that.

Alex Davenport, an IFS Research Economist and an author of the report, said:

“There is a small group of local authorities in England where public health, local jobs and families are all more vulnerable than average. While several of these areas are in the North West, the group includes local authorities from Dorset to Northumberland. But it is Torbay and the Isle of Wight that stand out as the most highly vulnerable, reflecting their elderly populations, reliance on tourism and hospitality, and pockets of socio-economic disadvantage.”

Speaking on behalf of The Footprint Trust Don Roe said:

“It is imperative that the funding is found for expert front-line charities who are assisting those in poverty, and that further help is provided for those who will suffer as a result of job losses and the general down turn in the economy. We work with a wide range of organisations, and know that they are also concerned about the future and a greatly increased workload this coming winter.”

“We urge local and national politicians to put aside differences, and work together to bring help to the most needy in our community, tailored to the needs of each household affected.”