Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK in February 2020, unemployment, poverty and debt have all increased significantly and look set to rise still further, while a significant minority of the population have seen their savings increase. At a time when households face acute financial strain, both in the UK, and globally, CHASM’s work has never been more important.
On 21 June CHASM held an ‘Open House’ event to share fascinating current research and for the audience to contribute their thoughts and ideas to the Centre’s future plans and strategic direction. Presentations focussed on three key areas of research:
- Poverty, Precarity, Debt and Savings,
- Housing, Welfare and Wellbeing
- The Financialisation of Later Life: Pensions, Property and Paying for Care
Presenters revealed fascinating, yet sobering findings, including how over 2.5 million people were given emergency food provision in 2020-21, that the neighbourhoods within which we live have a significant impact on our wellbeing , gig worker finances are negatively affected by the insecurity in the demand for gigs and the varied effects of mortgage holidays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
CHASM’s new Director, Louise Overton, highlighted her research with Dr Chris Smith on the risks and challenges of pension decision making under ‘freedom and choice’, as well as an NIHR-funded project on supporting people to find out about paying for care with a new website www.socialcaretalk.org, which isgoing live later in 2021. Finally, Deputy CHASM Director, Stewart Smyth, facilitated a question and answer session exploring the key priorities for CHASM’s research over the next five years.