The Covid-19 pandemic has widened the gap between the rich and poor, experts warn

  • Watch David Hirst's report

The Covid-19 pandemic has widened the gap between the rich and the poor, according to a new study.

How quickly your household or business will recover from Covid-19 when restrictions are lifted, may be down to where you live and what you do, say experts at the University of Sheffield.

This means that areas with higher levels of deprivation before the pandemic are more likely to struggle once final social restrictions have lifted.

Researchers from the Department of Economics assessed household and business recovery risk in the UK.

The study found that areas with higher levels of deprivation fared worse during the pandemic and carried a higher risk of poorer recovery outcomes.

In the South Yorkshire region, so-called ''high-risk'' areas include Rotherham Central, Central Doncaster, Masbrough and Bradgate in Rotherham, and Batemoor and Jordanthorpe in Sheffield.

The study found that threats to businesses' recovery are mainly concentrated in town and city business districts.

In Sheffield this includes central neighbourhoods such as Cathedral and Kelham, Devonshire Quarter, Tinsley, Carbrook, and Sharrow.

In the wider region, the main neighbourhoods in terms of business recovery risk are Rotherham Central, Central Doncaster and Hyde Park, Barnsley Town, and Park Road.

Dr Enrico Vanino from the Department of Economics, said: "The South Yorkshire region in particular will face some unique challenges, with a concentration of areas with high levels of risk for both households and businesses.

''This could create a problematic feedback loop slowing the economic recovery, as households struggle financially, local businesses will experience shrinking demand and in turn not be effectively supported in their recovery without intervention."

Dr Jesse Matheson, from the Department of Economics, added: "Local Authorities need to be aware of where there are communities where the gap between the rich and poor is widening and tailor their interventions to a place's specific needs."

In response to the report a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said "Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic.

''The temporary uplift is part of a £400 billion support package and has been extended beyond the ending of restrictions."