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New report finds one in six Welsh workers hit by Coronavirus closures  

March 30th 2020

hairdresser styling a wigThe new restrictions imposed on businesses as a result of the Coronavirus crisis will affect most workers in Wales in some way, but our latest briefing has found that more than one in six are in businesses forced to close.

A week ago, the UK Government instructed a number of businesses to close their public premises as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, including restaurants, pubs and cafes, non-food retail, except pharmacies, and a few other exceptions.

“We estimate that around 211,500 people are employed in these industries,”

said Bevan Foundation Director, Dr Victoria Winckler.

“While some may be retained in line with the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme, many others won’t be paid or will be made redundant – if they haven’t already been.”

Many of those who retain their position will still struggle to make ends meet with just 80% of their usual salary. A further 112,000 employees in education and transport services have also been affected by voluntarily closures to enable social distancing, and many of the 13% of the Welsh workforce who are self-employed face a dramatic loss in income too.

While some people can draw on savings in times of hardship, our briefing finds that 45% of Wales’ poorest people don’t have enough liquid assets to help them through a month, let alone several.

Worryingly, it also finds that 10% of Welsh employees earn below the statutory sick pay threshold of an average of £118 a week. So, if they need to self-isolate, they will get nothing.

The link between being poor and suffering from cardiovascular disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma, makes it more likely those on low income will become sick with Coronavirus too.

“This is why the Bevan Foundation is working harder than ever to find solutions to poverty and inequality which will benefit those most vulnerable to the changes brought about by Coronavirus.”

The challenges facing us during the Coronavirus outbreak are unprecedented. But they’re particularly difficult for those in Wales who are already disadvantaged by low income, as well as other factors such as illness, disability or age.

Get a copy of our ‘Risks and impact of Coronavirus’ briefing for free »

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