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This report, exploring attitudes to a range of inequality types in light of the COVID-19 crisis, forms part of the Policy Institute’s work contributing to the Institute for Fiscal Studies Deaton Review of Inequalities.

The study shows that the coronavirus crisis has not, as yet, unified the country on the need for a rethink on inequality or how to address it. Despite the response to the virus requiring a huge collective national effort, and despite significant vulnerabilities among particular groups being exposed over the past year, the crisis has, for the most part, not bridged political divides in support for action on inequality, and there is only a limited consensus on what the country’s most pressing inequalities are.

Key findings:

  • Britons across the political spectrum care about disparities between deprived and better-off areas, chiming with the government’s focus on “levelling up”.
  • Views on inequalities between different ethnic groups are comparatively more divided.
  • Gender equality comes low on the country’s list of priorities.
  • Britons’ focus on hard work and ambition means they tend to have a relatively unforgiving view of those who have lost their jobs during the crisis.
  • Appetite for change to tackle inequalities is still strongly influenced by people’s pre-existing political beliefs, indicating the pandemic has not shifted views.
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