stressed young couple worries about their finances

The disruptive economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed millions of people in the U.K. into financially vulnerable situations, according to new research from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The latest edition of a survey by the FCA finds that 27.7 million adults in the U.K. are at greater risk of harm due to vulnerabilities such as low financial resilience and negative life events. This was up from 24 million prior to the pandemic.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the number of people experiencing low financial resilience or negative life events has grown,” said Nisha Arora, director of consumer and retail policy at the FCA, in a release.

“The pain is not being shared equally with a higher than average proportion of younger and (racial minority) adults becoming vulnerable since March,” she noted.

The FCA reported that the number of adults with excessive debt, low savings, erratic earnings and other forms of “low financial resilience,” jumped from 10.7 million to 14.2 million in 2020.

At the same time, the regulator found that almost half ( 48%) of adults have not been affected financially by Covid-19, and that 14% have seen their financial situation improve during the pandemic.

“Vulnerability remains a key focus for the FCA, and has been brought into sharp relief by the pandemic. We continue to work with the wider financial services sector, including businesses, regulators and government to support and protect consumers. We expect to finalise our guidance on how firms should treat vulnerable customers shortly,” Arora said.