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The UK economy during Covid-19: Insights from the Bank of England’s Citizens’ Panels captures the learnings from discussions at 22 virtual events involving more than 1,000 members of the public from August 2020 to July 2021.
Participants shared how the pandemic had affected their incomes, ways of working, and patterns of consumption. Their confidence in the economic outlook varied over the year as news developed about the pandemic, and the measures taken to combat it. Deep concern was expressed about the unequal impact of the crisis on people across employment sectors, ages, and social backgrounds. Panellists shared their day-to-day experiences of the economy during the pandemic, as well as their hopes for a more inclusive post-pandemic economy. They also had the opportunity to question the Bank’s Governors and Executive Directors about the decisions taken by the Bank to support the economy.
The report, written by the independent local Chairs of the Citizens’ Panels, also addresses topics including Brexit, the housing market, the future of cities, climate change, and changes to the way we pay for goods and services.
Ruth Marks, Chief Executive of WCVA and Chair of the panel from Wales said: “While the pandemic was first and foremost a health crisis, it is clear that the economic impact of Covid-19 has also been deep and wide-ranging. What is also particularly striking is the unevenness of that impact, which risks further deepening existing levels of inequality within the regions and nations that took part in the panel sessions.
“It was really helpful to reach beyond the economic data and media headlines to refine our understanding of the economic landscape.”
Welcoming the publication of the report, the Bank’s Governors said: “Citizens’ Panels play an important part in the Bank of England’s engagement with the public. These human stories complement and inform the Bank’s economic analysis, intelligence gathering by the Agents, and the policymaking process.”