A lucky few are escaping the financial ill effects of the pandemic for now, with half of Brits who are still able to work reporting less financial stress than usual, research by income streaming provider Wagestream reveals.
Covid-19 has brought the country to a standstill, shut entire industries, brought financial misery to households and forced more than six million workers to be furloughed.
However, exclusive financial data shows that just over half of those who are still working are actually feeling better off than usual.
Wagestream analysed the amount of pay 70,466 workers have been drawing down early using its income streaming service. In total, 52.5% of those still working are accessing less pay than usual prior to payday. This has been blamed on lockdown, which has restricted leisure spending including visits to bars and restaurants, as well as holidays.
The lockdown has also led to noticeable changes in consumer spending patterns. Among those drawing down their wages early, the amount spent on groceries has risen from 14% pre-pandemic to a lockdown average of 27%.
This suggests that while Britons can’t go out and have a good time at bars and restaurants, they are indulging more at home.
For some, though, the pandemic has delivered acute financial stress, with 2.4% of those still working increasing the amount they are drawing down each month by 200% or more.
Income streaming gives workers early access to a percentage of their earned wages any day of the month for a flat £1.75 fee. There are no loans involved and no interest is charged. Wagestream has been offering its service free to the NHS during the pandemic.
The company also produces webinars for users that teach them how to look after their money and has built an online resource hub that identifies what information and entitlements are relevant to them.
Peter Briffett, CEO and Co-Founder of Wagestream, commented: “This data puts a positive spin on the pandemic for a lucky few but it’s important to remember that most people will be feeling significant financial stress and anxiety about the future.
“Financial resilience, consumer confidence and spending power are going to be key drivers of Britain’s recovery in the coming months.
“Employers should seize the opportunity to play a big role in that recovery by becoming advocates for a revolution in flexible working and the latest financial tools.”