Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Coronavirus webpage banner

Man working on laptop with mask
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis poses a significant financial risk to the UK higher education sector. Universities are facing big losses across a range of income sources and investments. These losses could cause serious financial problems, including – in the extreme – insolvency. Most institutions ...
Man buying coffee with mask
There is growing evidence that economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are particularly negative for young people. On the eve of the coronavirus outbreak, workers aged below 25 were more likely than other workers to be employed in sectors that have been effectively shut down as part of the ...
Woman shopping with mask
In this report, we use a novel source of real-time data on households’ finances from Money Dashboard, a budgeting app, to explore the impacts of the crisis so far on earnings, incomes and financial distress, and how they are evolving. We complement this with household survey data to explain and ...
Rishi Sunak in shop
Reports indicate the government is considering a temporary cut in VAT to stimulate consumer demand, possibly targeted at sectors such as tourism and restaurants. Overall the case for a temporary VAT cut now is mixed. It could provide an important fillip to consumer demand if implemented under the ...
Video


Local authorities (LAs) across the country are among those on the front line of the coronavirus crisis. But geographical differences in demographic and economic structures make different parts of the country more vulnerable to different effects of the crisis – on health, on families and children, ...
It is clear that the COVID-19 outbreak – and the public health response to it – will dramatically reduce economic activity in the second quarter of 2020.
The COVID-19 crisis has affected every part of the country – and indeed many other countries. What sets this crisis apart is the many different ways that it is impacting families: while the virus itself is primarily a public health issue, the unprecedented responses it has necessitated mean that ...
Since March, governments across the world have introduced a range of policies to help support businesses, households and public services during the coronavirus crisis. Two of the largest schemes in England relate to the business rates system. First, the government is waiving business rates for the ...
The COVID-19 pandemic led many countries to implement social distancing, lockdowns and travel restrictions, which have resulted in a collapse in the world economy unprecedented in peacetime.
Much of the debate about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, our responses to it, and the longer-term legacy that it will leave has quickly become a discussion about various forms of inequality.
We need policies directly focused on job creation and supporting people - especially young people - to find jobs, writes Paul Johnson.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused drastic changes to most parents’ work lives and other responsibilities. Millions of adults have lost or are forecast to lose their jobs permanently; many more have stopped work temporarily. Others are newly working from home, while many key workers are experiencing ...
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) covers 80% of employees’ usual salaries, up to a cap of £2,500 a month, while they are furloughed. From August it will also provide support for employees who return from furlough but work reduced hours. This Briefing Note considers the implications of ...
"School closures don’t merely put progress on educational equity at risk", Paul Johnson writes, "they put at risk years of slow progress towards gender equality in the labour market."
This morning, the ONS published its monthly public finance release for April, giving us an initial snapshot of the public finances under lockdown. It throws the enormous impact of the restrictions on the public finances into sharp relief.
Our research uses up to date real time data from DWP’s Find a Job website to track vacancy levels across all sectors of the economy and regions of the country.
On the 20th March 2020, UK schools closed their gates to all but the children of essential workers and those deemed most vulnerable. As of 15 May, this remained the case; should the progress of the pandemic permit, some more children might be allowed to return at the start of June.
This report looks at normal (pre-lockdown) commuting patterns, what they tell us about who would be affected by continued social distancing on public transport, and what they tell us about how policy can ease public transport congestion in a world of continued social distancing.
On Tuesday (12 May 2020) the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which covers 80% of employees’ usual salaries, up to a cap of £2,500 a month, while they are furloughed.
The coronavirus outbreak and associated containment measures have caused huge economic fallout across the world. The sharp decline in economic activity that is now occurring will depress government revenues and push up public spending. In addition, governments have, appropriately, responded with ...
This brief addresses the fiscal response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that governments could make use of the opportunities this shock provides to make changes to tax systems now that might be politically difficult later.
Journal article | Covid Economics: Vetted and Real-Time Papers
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented social distancing measures around the world to contain the spread of the virus. The UK has, like many countries, effectively closed down entire sectors of its economy and severely limited activity in many other sectors. This curtailing of activity is ...
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected some sections of the population more than others, and there are growing concerns that the UK’s minority ethnic groups are being disproportionately affected.
The fall in stock markets has reduced the wealth of those who directly hold shares and of those with defined contribution pension pots that are invested in equities.
"We are not all in this together when it comes to the social and economic consequences of the virus and our response to it", writes Paul Johnson.
UK households hold around £230bn of unsecured or consumer debt – including loans, credit card debt, hire purchase agreements and overdrafts. This equates to an average £8,000 per household. The bulk of that debt is held by those on relatively high incomes and in normal times its repayment tends ...
The response to the coronavirus crisis has underlined the critical role of the UK’s key workers, many of whom are in relatively low-paid sectors. This has prompted calls in outlets as diverse as the Guardian and the Financial Times to reassess the working conditions of key workers, both during ...
The coronavirus pandemic, and the measures put in place to combat it, have changed almost everything about how people live their day-to-day lives. More than ever before, life today is being conducted behind the nation’s front doors.
One group which is going to find the next months and years especially difficult are those entering the labour market this year. Experience from previous recessions tells us that graduates will be less likely to find work and will start off in lower-paying occupations than they might have expected. ...
The spread of COVID-19 has led to sweeping changes in the way households work, spend their time and shop. This has led to large changes in spending patterns and, in some cases, rapid price changes. How will changes such as these be reflected in headline inflation measures such as the Consumer ...
When and how should the coronavirus lockdown end? "We need some framework for decision-making, not a set of opinions about the right decision", argues Paul Johnson.
The government is providing £1.6 billion to English councils to help them deal with additional spending pressures arising as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This is being allocated according to assessments of spending needs in 2013–14, with the vast majority being allocated based on the ...
Tuition fees from international students account for nearly a fifth of total income of the higher education sector. A big drop in international students would imperil university finances.
The coronavirus pandemic will have huge impacts on the National Health Service (NHS). Patients suffering from the illness are placing unprecedented demands on acute care, particularly on intensive care units (ICUs). This has led to an effort to dramatically increase the resources available to NHS ...
The current lockdown and social distancing measures brought about by the coronavirus crisis, coupled with the direct effects of the virus on workers and firms, are having a huge impact on economies in the UK and around the world. Existing literature on the health impacts of business-cycle ...
Many households are experiencing falls in their income as a result of the economic and health policy responses to the coronavirus crisis – often sharp falls. What they normally spend their money on will matter for how well they can weather this storm. If a household typically spends much of its ...
On the eve of the economic crisis caused by the public health response to coronavirus, around 76,000 working-age families were subject to the benefit cap. The cap means that most of these families, and some of those who have since lost employment during the crisis won’t benefit at all from the ...
The lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has effectively shut down a number of sectors. We find that young people, women and low-earners are the most affected.
The coronavirus pandemic is a public health crisis and global economic shock increasingly affecting lower-income countries around the world – external finance from international institutions and development partners can help plug financing gaps, but may become stretched as many countries around ...
The Chancellor has introduced workable and generous income protection schemes for most employees and self-employed people that lose work as a result of coronavirus. But there are some groups who have seen no increase in protection.
An important part of the UK policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been to try to help ensure key workers with children have access to sufficient childcare. Children of key workers are allowed to continue attending school and childcare settings, and both schools and early years providers are ...
The Debt Management Office announced yesterday that in order to finance the Government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak it intends to auction £45 billion of gilts this month. This would be a record. It is highly likely that the amount that needs to be raised over the new financial year will ...
Short-time work is a subsidy for temporary reductions in the number of hours worked in firms affected by temporary shocks. Evidence suggests that it can have large positive effects on employment and can be more effective than unemployment insurance or universal transfers. This column discusses how ...
By the time the coronavirus lockdown ends, the government's choices "will be utterly different" to when it took office, writes Paul Johnson. "How it makes those choices could prove even more important than the immediate response to the crisis."
With no vaccination available, scientists recommend non-pharmaceutical interventions – in particular, handwashing, social distancing, and the shielding of elderly and vulnerable groups – as the only feasible way of suppressing the spread of COVID-19, and lessening its mortality rate. Such ...
The coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a public health crisis. But it also represents a large and systemic economic shock, with massive effects on both the supply and demand sides of the economy.
The spread of COVID-19, and international measures to contain it, are having a major impact on economic activity in the UK. In this observation we describe how this impact has varied across industries using data on share prices of firms listed on the London Stock Exchange, and how well targeted ...
The self-employed are more exposed to the large falls in demand resulting from social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic and more likely to be living in poverty than employees.
Today (26 March 2020) the Chancellor announced new, very generous support for the self-employed. Those who earn the majority of their income from self-employment and who had average profits of no more than £50,000 over the last three years will be eligible for a taxable grant equal to 80% of the ...
Isabel Stockton, a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said: “The response to the covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp downturn in economic activity. It has also, rightly, prompted a substantial fiscal policy response, the cost of which will add directly to government ...
The funding arrangements for the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not look well designed to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
Over the past decade employment has grown very strongly, from 29 million to 33 million in work (70% and 76% of the working age population). At the same time wages have grown at historically slow rates.
There is a clear need to temporarily reallocate some workers but this should be balanced with the need to have the economy ready to quickly resume ‘business as usual’ once the COVID-19 crisis is over.
In this observation, we set out some of the most important facts about key workers to help inform the evolving policy response to COVID-19.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced more financial measures to address the impact of coronavirus on the economy.
It looks likely that responding to the coronavirus outbreak (covid-19) will be at the centre of Wednesday’s Budget. We look at some of the options the Chancellor has.
Spring Budget 2020: IFS analysis event 12 Mar 2020

Other coronavirus research

Mobilising revenue: opportunities for lower-income countries during the pandemic

This brief addresses the fiscal response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that governments could make use of the opportunities this shock provides to make changes to tax systems now that might be politically difficult later.

Find out more >>>

Estimating the COVID-19 Infection Rate: Anatomy of an Inference Problem

As a consequence of missing data on tests for infection and imperfect accuracy of tests, reported rates of cumulative population infection by the SARS CoV-2 virus are lower than actual rates of infection. Hence, reported rates of severe illness conditional on infection are higher than actual rates. 

Find out more >>>

A Multi-Risk SIR Model with Optimally Targeted Lockdown

A research paper just published develops a new model of COVID-19 infection, survival and economic costs in which lockdown is targeted differentialy across 3 age groups, the old (65+), the young (20-49) and the middle aged.

Find out more >>>