The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting low income energy consumers hard. Short term policies have provided temporary help. However, in the long term we need policies to improve home energy standards.
The spread of Covid-19 has shaken people's lives around the world in an unprecedented way, adversely affecting their health, well-being, ability to work, and linked to this, their income. In response, Governments and central banks have put in place wide-ranging policies to protect people and businesses from the economic shock caused by the pandemic. They have been quick to don an 'economic life support machine', introducing a mix of innovative fiscal measures, unconventional monetary policy and financial 'stress' policies. Despite such active policy, the path to economic recovery remains uncertain in the absence of a vaccine or relevant medicinal therapeutics. What is clear is that policymakers are becoming central actors, walking a delicate tightrope between healthcare concerns and the future of our economies. As we debate how economic policy should navigate through future turbulent seas, this blog makes a simulated case for macroeconomic policy coordination.
The Sheffield Institute for Policy Studies (SIPS) is delighted to have hosted its 4th Annual Postgraduate Research Poster Competition. The Competition is open to postgraduate students at all levels, and within all disciplines, across Sheffield Hallam University. The event was organised by a staff/student team including Dr Jill Dickinson, Benjamin Archer, Ruth Squire, Tracey Holland, Elouise Hearnshaw, Katrina Fleming and Sophie Negus.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm’s Final Report into the Online Gambling Sector, which was published earlier this month, presents a roadmap for government, the Gambling Commission and industry to develop a safer and fairer gambling environment, and limit gambling-related harm in Great Britain. Writing in 2014, I noted how the rise in online gambling had made gambling opportunities more readily available to large swathes of the population, whilst simultaneously undermining many of the restrictions, player protection measures and responsible gambling strategies typically found in land based establishments. Over the last decade, online gambling has been a key propellant of citizens’ gambling expenditure, industry profits and state taxation revenues, with citizens losing £5.3 billion gambling remotely in 2019 alone.
The importance of communication is never more apparent than at times of significant events. From the UK leaving the European Union, to Harry and Meghan stepping away from British monarchy, it is through communication that our realities materialise. Indeed, as scholar Daniel Nelson reflects, it is a truism that ‘wars start and end with words’. It is no surprise then that a deep-rooted concern with getting communications ‘right’ lays at the heart of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic. From government messaging to public health advice, from media debate to conversations with our families, our awareness of the need for successful communications ripples through our consciousness as we try to overcome this disease.
Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, there has been a strong wave of public support for key workers and this has included teachers; for example, they are explicitly mentioned on the front page of the clap for our carers website. However there are widely differing views about the crucial role of schools and teachers in enabling the economy to begin to return to something like normal. On one side the right wing press - and the Education Secretary - cleverly placed this as a call to the 'duty' of teachers, positioning 'hero' teachers in opposition to the teacher unions. On the other, many parents are concerned about the safety of schools for their children. Other UK nations - not to mention some English LAs - take the view that it is unsafe to open schools so soon, as we can see. Meanwhile, the Children's Commissioner argues that disadvantaged children need to return to school quickly.
Universities have proved their worth in the COVID-19 crisis, responding at speed not simply to their own students and research partners’ changed demands, but to the communities and the national effort. But there is a clear sense that the skies will darken once the immediate crisis abates. The concerns include a precipitous fall in international students and constrained local mobility, student retention and progression to university, and the impact of a prolonged economic recession on research and development budgets. These concerns led Universities UK – the umbrella body for the country’s 137 universities, of which I am a Board member, to develop a proposal to government for a systematic programme of support.
The social, economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the UK Government issuing instructions for members of the public to 'stay at home' with limited exceptions for shopping, exercise, medical need, and essential travel for work purposes. These directions are supported by Regulations that restrict the operation of public meeting places (or Third Places) including restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and gyms. The guidelines for entering a public space, and the maintenance of a 2 metres distance from other individuals not of the same household, pose fresh questions about blurred spatial boundaries.
Dr Emma Bimpson and Dr Kesia Reeve discuss the unique and profound challenges that COVID-19 is likely to pose to mothers experiencing homelessness.
Last year we completed a research study exploring the experiences of homeless mothers for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) and Sheffield Hallam University. Now that we are all adjusting to a life spent entirely at ‘home’ we have had cause to think about the mothers who participated in that research. It is difficult to imagine what the domestic circumstances described by those women – in the lead up to their homelessness and then afterwards – would look like in the context of COVID-19.
There are nearly seven million 16-24 years olds in the UK; around 1 in 10 of the national population.
The scale of government responses across much of the world to the Covid-19 pandemic have been unprecedented in peacetime. Extensive business and employee support schemes (such as furloughing) have prevented an economic downturn turning into a huge crisis of mass unemployment and rapidly increasing poverty.