Date: 7th April 2020
Whether economic, political or social, the shocks and subsequent impacts of a crisis are never uniformly felt across economies. The real impact of a crises reflects the composition of local economies and communities. De-industrialisation, the recession of the early 90s, the 2008 financial crises and the ensuing austerity agenda all affected different places in different ways. While the news headlines focus on national issues, we need to remember that economic shocks have local consequences and that the solutions needed for recovery will be different too.
As the enormity of the economic challenges presented by COVID-19 grow, there has been no shortage of news reports and think pieces devoted to the global economic ramifications. BBC News has neatly pulled together a visual guide to the economic impact, whilst others such as Imperial College and The Guardian have sought to understand the wider impact of Coronavirus on business and the economy. But there has been less focus of how its socio-economic effects might be felt locally across the country.
With this in mind, we have developed an Interactive Dashboard that tries to identify exposure to the socio-economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic across England’s 343 local authorities. It draws on a range of economic, social and health indicators. Our aim is to stimulate discussion and provide a snapshot of individual local authorities to help decision makers identify where the virus might have the greatest impact on our economy. The tool is free to use and available here.
As policymakers rightly respond to the immediate health challenges presented by COVID-19, we need to prepare for what lies ahead. This tool has been designed to help support that process. This very much is the start of a conversation and we would love to hear your ideas for how we could make the tool more relevant and useful.
There are undoubtedly many more messages and insights in the data. We know the dashboard does not capture the actual spread of the virus and nor does it fully reflect all the sectors that will be heavily impacted. It also does not reflect the wider supply-chain and labour market effects that will shape recovery. And, nor have we begun to look at fiscal impacts on local government. There are also positive effects that have emerged for some sectors such as food retailers, delivery companies and online health-fitness related businesses which are not considered here.
It would be great to hear what you think of what we have done so far and what this may mean for your area. Over the course of the coming weeks and months, we will be reflecting more on the pandemic and what it means for economies, places and communities. It would be great if you could join us in that conversation using #UrbanSolutions or contact George Harrington or Simon Hooton directly.
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