Data from Working Dads poll shows north of England and Scotland endured significantly more financial damage, as well as poor mental health.
Just over 60% of working dads in the north of England and Scotland went into debt during the pandemic, compared to only 36% of their southern counterparts, according to a Working Dads’ survey.
Our latest poll showed that more people in the north also turned to food banks – 40%, as opposed to 32% in the south.
The responses paint a stark portrait of the differences between the UK’s geographical areas when it comes to money and the way people live. Unsurprisingly, 65% of our northern responses said their mental health had deteriorated because of Covid-19, rather than 55% in the south (although both numbers remain far too high).
Twelve per cent more of those who replied from the northern UK were furloughed.
We also asked questions about whether respondents were subsequently more or less likely to go self-employed. Fifty per cent of northerners said yes, compared to 32% down south. And 65% of those in the north of Britain also said they had since turned down a job because it was not flexible enough. Meanwhile, 46% of southerners agreed.
Thinktank Centre for Cities argued in its Cities Outlook 2021 that the nature of the pandemic meant it hadn’t stuck to traditional north/south divides. However, it admitted: “Covid has created a new challenge in the South and added significantly to the scale of the existing challenge in the North and Midlands.”
By mid-2021, 44% were saying economic inequality had got worse thanks to the pandemic.
And back in November, The Guardian said: “The Northern Health Science Alliance calculates that Covid-19 has killed proportionately more people in the north than in the rest of England, mainly because of deprivation.”
The Working Dads poll data further illustrates the scale of the challenge facing the UK as we emerge from the pandemic, especially in light of the government’s so-called ‘levelling up’ strategy.