A third of workers have already taken a financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic, a poll showed tonight.
A quarter of those with lost incomes have been unable to buy food and other essential items, while one in three say they have fallen behind on rent, mortgages or loan payments.
Shockingly, 11% say they have been evicted from their homes – despite the temporary ban on rental evictions.
The impact on family finances comes less than two weeks after Boris Johnson placed restrictions on everyday life.
The Prime Minister advised on March 16 that only workers who needed to go to their workplaces should continue to travel – before ordering a near-complete lockdown on Monday.
The Government has guaranteed 80% of workers’ wages, up to £2,500-a-month, to help those affected.
Reasons for household budgets being clobbered included contracted work being cancelled or ended and people having to work reduced hours or take unpaid leave.
The Opinium survey of 2,002 British adults was carried out from March 20-24 for campaign group Compassion in Politics.
Co-director Jennifer Nadel said: “People’s lives are being devastated by Covid-19 and, while the financial support offered to businesses has been welcome, we fear the Government has been too slow in stepping in to protect individual workers, particularly the self-employed.
“The introduction of new support packages is welcome and necessary but it is clear from our research that work must still be done to make up for lost ground to help those who are already struggling to buy food or pay rent.
“The Government must ensure that the prohibition on evictions is being enforced and it should be extended to cover the entirety of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The £94 per week sick pay allowance should also be increased to reflect the actual cost of living.
“Without these steps more and more people will be falling into significant distress, debt, and destitution.”
The survey found 84% of people support the introduction of a universal basic income, while 79% back the freezing of all taxes and bills.
Sone 77% say rents should be frozen.
Opinium senior research executive Grantley White said: “We’re still seeing the full impact of Covid-19 on employment unfold in the UK and, as feared, a significant chunk of workers have had their normal working hours reduced , experienced a drop in their usual earnings, and many have lost their jobs completely – likely those working on precarious zero hour contracts.
“For those whose employment has been affected by Covid-19, this has left a quarter struggling to buy essentials and the knock-on impact on housing has left many falling behind on rent and mortgage repayments.
“The Government has been slow to provide clarity on what exactly will be done to support groups hit particularly hard by a sudden loss of income.”