The disruption caused by Covid-19 on the Welsh economy prompted huge and immediate economic responses from the UK and Welsh governments. Some £1.7 billion of support for Welsh businesses has been announced through the Welsh budget for this year, with £680 million reaching businesses through Welsh local authorities to date. In May, 316,500 employees in Wales had been furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, while 102,000 self employed individuals had applied for support through the Self-Employment Income Support scheme. Despite unprecedented levels of state support for the economy, early data suggests there has been a large increase in unemployment in Wales. From 1 March to 12 May, there were 122,160 new Universal Credit claimants in Wales, with daily claimant speaking at 6,860 new claimants on 27March.
As well as mitigating the overall impact on the Welsh economy, our findings suggest policymakers should focus on the disproportionate impact the crisis may be having on particular groups and individuals. The impact of the economic disruption in Wales is likely to exacerbate existing inequalities, with the effects being particularly felt by women, the least well-off, BAME and younger workers. While the social distancing measures have been critical in controlling the spread of the virus, a particular focus of the recovery effort should be preventing this economic shock from having long-term effects on the incomes and employment opportunities of these groups and individuals.
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