In light of a recent ONS survey discussing regional variances in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought it would be interesting to assess the relationship between consciousness of COVID safety (data here) and monetary judgment rates, within regions of England. Our hypothesis was that lower levels of COVID safety may correlate with higher levels of financial vulnerability.
Registry Trust maintains the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for the UK and Ireland, giving us live data regarding indebtedness and, by association, financial vulnerability. Our data is real-time, meaning we can accurately monitor levels of indebtedness and how these levels of indebtedness alter spatially and temporally.
The ONS data shows that the South East of England reports as the most ‘COVID safe’. The South East scored the highest at feeling they had enough information regarding government plans to manage COVID and scored the second highest in three other categories: always maintaining social distancing, not meeting up indoors with anybody else, and being very likely to accept the offer of mass testing even when experiencing no symptoms. People in the South East scored third highest when reporting they always wash their hands with soap and water when returning from a public place. However, the South East also had the lowest percentage of people who had not met up with anybody else outside in the past seven days. Regarding County Court Judgments (CCJs) on our Register, the South East had the third lowest cases in quarter one of 2020.
Alternatively, the East Midlands scored lowest regarding COVID safety, followed by the North West, then the North East and Yorkshire and Humber, which were ranked joint third. Out of the nine regions, these three northern regions have the seventh, ninth, and sixth highest CCJ rates respectively, indicating both low levels of COVID safety and high levels of indebtedness.
Note: The regions are ranked from one to nine, with nine representing the most conscious of COVID related safety, and most CCJs per 10,000 of the population.
The graph below tests the notion of low COVID safety correlating with high CCJs. The results show a negative correlation between regions who act more cautiously to COVID, and higher CCJ rates per 10,000 of the population. In lay terms, more COVID safety correlates with lower CCJ rates, thus lower financial vulnerability. The exact reason for this is unknown and we cannot say that one causes the other, simply that there is a relationship between the two. However, one possible reason for this could be that reduced COVID consciousness results in greater COVID related illness, thus less hours worked, eventually resulting in reduced financial stability and an inability to repay debts.
It could be that by increasing COVID safety in regions where it is currently lower, there will be fewer COVID cases, resulting in less disruption to work or education, therefore less financial decline resulting in CCJs.
It will be interesting to assess if this pattern continues as more data is released regarding perceptions relating to the pandemic.
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