Nowhere is feeling the economic and social impact of Covid-19 more than UK’s cities and largest towns. They account for around 60% of the country’s economic output and more than half of the population.

Once the immediate crisis is over, the Government will need to consider how it can help the towns and cities most economically affected by Coronavirus rebuild their economies.

Where in England has the highest number of new Coronavirus cases?

See the tracker and map of Coronavirus cases in England.

With 176 cases per 100,000 population, Leicester is now the city with the highest infection rate in England — although this is down 23 per cent compared to last week.

Peterborough is the city with the second highest infection rate (175 cases per 100,000 population), followed by Mansfield (174).

At the other end of the spectrum, Gloucester is still the city with the lowest infection rate (26 cases per 100,000 population).

This week’s data shows that five cities are now below the 50 cases per 100,000 population threshold: Gloucester, Plymouth, Exeter, Norwich and Brighton.

Looking at changes since last week shows that cases have been declining in every city except in Worthing, where they went up 25 per cent, and Hull (+8 per cent).

Norwich, Bournemouth and Slough saw the largest declines (around 50 per cent down in just a week).

Methodology and notes

How is Coronavirus affecting the economy?

The lockdown policies that the Government have introduced to slow the spread of Coronavirus have had a huge economic impact. Some parts of the country will feel the negative effects more acutely than others.

Places with stronger highly-skilled information-based economies – mostly in the Greater South East – have been able to more easily adapt to working from home, ensuring that some parts the economy continues to function. However, other areas – mostly in the North and Midlands – with weaker low-skill service-based economies have been less able to do this.

They also have larger proportions of low-skilled self-employed people and the market for their services has shrunk significantly during this pandemic. They may receive less Government support once this crisis is over.

These outside the Greater South East will require more direct Government interventions to support their economies once the immediate public-health crisis is over.

How is Coronavirus affecting the labour market?


How is Coronavirus affecting unemployment?

The pandemic has left no corner of the UK unaffected. Since March, the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits has increased dramatically everywhere across the country. And it is not just places with weaker economies that have been hardest hit: traditionally strong economies such as Crawley, London and Slough are among the places that have seen the largest increases in the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits since March, alongside Birmingham, Bradford and Blackpool.

While the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme prevented even bigger spikes in unemployment, finding a job right now is incredibly though as more people compete for fewer job opportunities.

How can the economy recover from Coronavirus?

Once the public health crisis has ended, policymakers must develop a long-term response which recognises that the economic damage done by Coronavirus will be felt differently across the country.

Without a place-focussed economic response, the geographic inequalities that we saw before the Coronavirus will become even more entrenched, and the Prime Minister’s mission to level up the country will even harder to achieve.

Centre for Cities will be working on this in the future.

How quickly did workers in city centres respond to the coronavirus?

On the whole, we see that the city centre workers had responded before the Prime Minister announced what has become known as the lockdown, on Tuesday 24 March, especially in London. The scale and the pace of this response was biggest in the largest cities and in particular those with the strongest city centre economies.

Stay up to date

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up

How is Coronavirus affecting the economy?

Showing 1–10 of 103 results.