Dave Innes, Head of Economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:
“Before the pandemic hit there were signs that our record on tackling poverty and health inequalities was unravelling. Covid-19 has laid bare just how stark those inequalities are.
“It is completely unacceptable that someone’s life chances are so profoundly affected by where they live. Today’s statistics must act as a wake-up call – as a society with a strong sense of decency and compassion we can and must do better.
“The deep recession we are now entering is a necessary consequence of the steps taken to protect public health. The government’s furlough scheme has protected millions of jobs but it cannot be right that the poorest in our society are now bearing the brunt of the economic fallout from coronavirus too. It is vital that government takes further take bold steps to protect people from being pulled further into poverty as lockdown is lifted.”