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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Time to act: Understanding the impact of Covid-19 on disabled people in the north of England

Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on disabled people, with data suggesting that during the first nine months of the pandemic, the risk of death was at least twice as great among disabled people compared to non-disabled people.

Across the north of England, the pandemic has also had a disproportionate impact; the total number of recorded cases per 100,000 is 20 per cent higher in the North than it is in England as a whole, and parts of the North have seen more prolonged restrictions than anywhere else in the country.

An estimated 21 per cent of the working-age population in the north of England were disabled in 2018, compared to 19 per cent across England as a whole. 

Even before the pandemic, disabled people in regions like the North were at a disadvantage as a consequence of the wider regional inequalities that characterise the UK’s economy. These inequalities in health, income and employment have been exacerbated by austerity, and this briefing paper shows that they have been deepened too by the pandemic. Not only has it amplified existing inequalities; it has also brought to light new challenges on access to services and opportunities.

Our conclusions emphasise that now is the time for policymakers to act and ensure that disabled people have equal access to opportunity across the North and the rest of the UK.

For a word version of the report for screen readers, click here. For a word version of the easy read report for screen readers, click here.