The UK’s poorest working households were alone in making income gains during the coronavirus lockdown, as they benefited from a multibillion pound boost to welfare benefits, according to Treasury analysis released on Wednesday.
The finance ministry’s calculations also suggested that the government’s furlough, or job retention, scheme had offset hypothetical earnings losses to a surprisingly equal extent across income groups.
The findings were unexpected because most previous studies had shown that the poor were likely to have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
The Treasury assessed the impact of government support against the effect of earnings and job losses, comparing incomes in May to what they were in February.
Looking at the income that households accrued between March, when most of the UK economy shut down, and the end of May, the bottom decile saw an overall gain of about 4 per cent.
The Treasury said government interventions since March