Money was already tight for UK families living on a low income before the COVID-19 pandemic, but national lockdowns made life much harder.
Telling the stories of these families, this book exposes the ways that pre-existing inequalities, insecurities and hardships were amplified during the pandemic for families who were already in poverty before COVID-19, as well as those pushed into poverty by the economic fallout it created.
Drawing on the Covid Realities research programme, and developed in partnership with parents and carers, it explores experiences of home-schooling, social security receipt and government, community and charitable support. This book sets out all that is wrong with the status quo, while also offering a powerful agenda for change.
Also see ‘COVID-19 Collaborations: Researching Poverty and Low-Income Family Life during the Pandemic’ (Open Access) to find out more about the challenges of carrying out research during COVID-19.
“Humane, powerful, important, compelling. Here are the real experts speaking about poverty and hardship – those who have experienced and lived through it. If I could, I’d give a copy to every MP, policy maker and journalist in the country.” Kerry Hudson, author of Lowborn
“A vital and lasting record of poverty and the pandemic. Superbly presented, in places the voices are almost too painful to read. Government failure writ large and now all getting much worse.” Jonathan Bradshaw, Emeritus Professor
“To understand what millions of people have gone through since the pandemic began, this book and its profoundly human voices are where you need to start.” John Harris, The Guardian
“Here at last are the lost voices of the COVID-19 pandemic, where those on low incomes are no longer a footnote, or ‘a whisper in history’.” Ros Wynne-Jones, Daily Mirror
“This important participatory study – which puts the voices of low income parents and carers at its heart – should be read and also reflected and acted on by policy makers and all seeking a more just society.” Ruth Lister, Member of the House of Lords and author of Poverty
“A ground-breaking – at times heart-breaking – perceptive and thought-provoking book, produced in true partnership with the families at the heart of the project. Work of this kind should be a beacon for other researchers." Kate E. Pickett, University of York
“Not simply a memoir but a call to action, a call for change. We must read, listen and take action to end poverty.” Katy Goldstraw, Staffordshire University and APLE Collective Administrator
Ruth Patrick is Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of York.
Maddy Power is Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York.
Kayleigh Garthwaite is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology at the University of Birmingham.
Jim Kaufman is Research Associate in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York.
Geoff Page is Research Associate in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York.
Katie Pybus is a registered mental health nurse and Research Fellow in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York.
Foreword: Voices for Change
Introduction: A Whisper in History: Poverty, Families and the Pandemic
1. Britain Enters Lockdown
3. Back to School?
4. Christmas in the Pandemic
5. Winter Lockdown: Hard Times Get Harder Still
6. The Budget: Counting the Money We Do Not Have
Conclusion: Our Manifesto for Change
Afterword: This Is No Way for Anyone to Have to Live