The report, created using needs analysis tool Local Insight, shows that unemployment in Oxfordshire has increased by over two-and-a-half times since March, over 76,000 jobs across the county are at risk after furlough ends, and 11,717 children were in low-income families before the pandemic hit.
This report looks at a few key themes that will have significant impact on local places and local people in the wake of the pandemic and the lockdown measures. The pandemic has led to many households experiencing financial hardship either for the first time or more acutely than in the past. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) finds it highly plausible that over one million more people will be under the pre-COVID poverty line by the end of 2020, compared to a situation where the pandemic had not occurred, including 200,000 children.
We have seen sharp increases in unemployment across the county, with the numbers of people claiming Unemployment Benefit more than doubling since March. Nationally, food bank usage has soared, with data from the Trussell Trust indicating that across April there was an 89% increase in need compared to the same period last year. We see food vulnerability in some areas that we may not usually consider deprived. This vulnerability, in part, has been driven by rurality (distance to services, digital exclusion), demographics (older people, living alone), as well as deprivation (families claiming benefit). Oxfordshire has 42 wards that have a higher Food Vulnerability Index score than the national average.
With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme due to finish at the end of November, and a second national lockdown about to start, there are fears of an even larger unemployment crisis. This report looks at the industries that are at greatest risk, and the workers most at risk of redundancy.
Commenting on the report, OCF’s CEO Adrian Sell blogs: “We are all considering the implications for us, our families, and what for many people is a traditional time to come together with far-flung relatives and friends.
“What then is there for those who are struggling to pay for food at half term, let alone thinking about Christmas lunch? What of the older people, living alone, who are already stretched to the limits of loneliness and have no hope of the traditional beacons of life through the dark months? Now is the time to re-energise ourselves and think about what we can do to help those most in need in the coming months.”