Real-time evaluation of the effects of Covid-19 and policy responses on consumer and small business finances

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Warwick Business School


The Covid-19 pandemic together with the unprecedented and radical economic policy response on the part of government has resulted in severe disruption to consumer finances and small business finances. There is an urgent and timely need to evaluate the extent of disruption and the effectiveness of recent policy innovations. This project will use a new and unique set of real-time, high frequency data available to evalute these far faster can be achieved with traditional ONS data

The project involves the creation of a new real-time economic characterisation of consumer and firm behaviour from mass transaction data. Specifically, the work will evaluate impact on consumer finances (reduced incomes, non-payment of debts, patterns of saving and expenditure) and small business finances (turnover and business continuity). The research will be co-produced with four organisations.

First, working with the Financial Conduct Authority, the regulator of the consumer financial sector in the UK, to evaluate the impact on consumer indebtedness and evaluate the FCA's policy response, the Consumer Credit (Temporary Covid-19 Support Measures) Order 2020 (CCO220) and
the 3 month mortgage forbearnce scheme.

Second, working with the National Employee Savings Trust, the largest provider of pensions to low income workers in the UK, to understand the effects
on incomes and short-term and long-term saving behaviour.

Third, working with the UK's largest financial aggregator app, Moneydashboard, to model the impact of 'lockdown' measures on consumer spending and business survival across sectors.

Fourth, working with Natwest to evaluate the impact of the government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Findings will be presented to policymaker sponsors the researchers will continue to work with policymakers in real-time policy design.


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