New research has shown which parts of Glasgow could be hit hardest by the cost of living crisis.
Data shows that people in some Glasgow constituencies are seen as financially vulnerable as energy bills, taxes and fuel prices soar, putting increased pressure on people’s wallets.
Debt collection company Lowell and US think tank Urban Institute have given each UK constituency a score out of 100 – what they call the “Financial Vulnerability Index” – based on data such as the percentage of ‘adults on welfare and Lowell’s share of consumers with high-cost loans.
What does the Glasgow data show?
Glasgow North East has been listed as the 82nd most vulnerable area in the whole of the UK (out of 650 constituencies) and the most vulnerable in Glasgow. It scored 55.2 out of 100.
The detailed data shows that almost 20% of adults are claiming social benefits, while almost the same percentage of Lowell customers are in default.
Glasgow East came close behind in 83rd place with a rating of 55.1. Glasgow South West fared slightly better, ranking 92nd and scoring 54.5.
Glasgow North West received a rating of 50.2 (182nd), Glasgow Central a rating of 48.9 (216th) and Glasgow South a rating of 48.2 (236).
Glasgow West was Glasgow’s only constituency outside the top half, scoring 44.6 (341st).
“High levels of vulnerability”
Many households in big cities like Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow have been financially ‘scarred’ by the coronavirus pandemic, with high debt and little savings.
This means they are much more vulnerable to the new economic shock of the cost of living crisis, according to research by debt collection firm Lowell and US think tank Urban Institute.
The researchers said people in these areas are still grappling with the effects of the pandemic, despite the recovery seen elsewhere.
“Many precincts in these cities experienced high levels of vulnerability before the pandemic, which has been exacerbated by successive shutdowns,” the study said.
“These areas have become ‘scar tissue’, sheltered from the general upturn in the economy seen as the pandemic waned.”
Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester and Newcastle are the biggest cities with this scarring effect, seeing only marginal improvement in their financial vulnerability since the height of the pandemic.
John Pears, UK CEO of Lowell, said: “At the moment everyone is talking about the rising cost of living, but the impact will not be the same everywhere.
“There are a lot of communities that still haven’t returned to where they were before the pandemic and they are being affected again.
“With rising energy and food prices, we hope these areas get the support they need, otherwise the government risks stabilizing in some of our larger cities.”
Signe-Mary McKernan, vice-president for labour, social care and population at the Urban Institute, said: “While the UK saw an improvement in financial vulnerability overall, gaps remained in several regions. and high financial vulnerability persisted in places like Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Birmingham.
“As policymakers seek to guide the recovery, supporting residents’ financial health can help families weather inflation and stabilize communities.”
The researchers’ Financial Vulnerability Index marks a range from 1 to 100, with higher numbers signifying greater financial vulnerability.
It combines analysis of Lowell’s 9.5 million customer accounts with official statistics from the UK government and the Office for National Statistics.
It is based on six components that capture a household’s ability to manage day-to-day finances and withstand economic shocks: taking on debt in default, using alternative financial products such as payday loans, claiming benefits related to work, lack emergency savings, hold a high cost loan and are highly dependent on credit.