Lancaster experts advise Government on Life Beyond Covid


house of commons
Parliament

Eight Lancaster academics were among experts from across the UK who have been telling the Government what they think the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic will be in the next two to five years.

This work was done to inform the House of Lords COVID-19 Committee inquiry on Life beyond COVID, and is based on 366 expert responses. Areas of concern include work and employment, health and social care, research and development, society and community, the natural environment, education, arts, culture and sport, infrastructure and crime and justice.

The eight from Lancaster University include:

Dr Derek Gatherer (BLS), Dr Matthew Johnson, (PPR), Dr Robert Gutsche Jr (Sociology), Dr Yang Hu (Sociology), Professor Bruce Hollingsworth (Health Economics), Professor Sara Fovargue (Law), Professor Alfredo De Massis (LUMS/Free University of Bozen-Bolzano) and Professor Mike Tsionas (Economics).

Experts suggested that remote working might transform work life but that the availability and security of work might reduce. The possible long-term mental and physical health effects of COVID-19 were a source of concern for many experts, as were potential increases in health inequalities and the future viability of the NHS and social care system. 

There were concerns about UK preparedness for future public health crises and how the COVID-19 outbreak could change research priorities (both positively and negatively). 

Social cohesion and the long-term effects of loneliness and isolation were cited as a key implication by many experts. They also suggested that a combination of factors over the next few years could lead to an increase in social inequalities. 

Experts discussed the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the natural environment. They discussed how improper disposal of personal protective equipment used during the outbreak could cause environmental harm and also questioned how global climate commitments might change following the outbreak. 

The long-term effects of school closures on children and young people was raised as a concern. Experts suggested that educational and development milestones missed during the COVID-19 outbreak could affect people for the rest of their lives. 

Experts suggested that the COVID-19 outbreak could widen economic equalities in the longer term. 

Other implications that experts suggested included that some sectors (such as the creative industries) might shrink because they become unviable during the COVID-19 outbreak, that urban planning could shift to reflect people seeking different types of housing for home-working, and that there could be an increase in the level of cybercrime because of changes in how people work and shop. 

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