While half of the population has remained largely unaffected, a significant part has been hit hard by the pandemic, with many people forced to resort to food banks, a survey by the UK’s financial regulator has revealed.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says over 40 percent of Britons are now struggling to make ends meet or are in poor health – up sharply on the same time last year, before Covid-19 took hold.

The body responsible for overseeing the UK’s financial industry says some 27.7 million people are now showing signs of vulnerability and health impact, and have little monetary resilience. One in four Brits is having trouble making ends meet and one in 10 will likely have recourse to a food bank, according to the survey, published on Thursday.

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As bad as it is for those who are suffering during the pandemic, the FCA report also reveals that almost half (48 per cent) said it has had little or no effect on their finances. One in seven actually reported that they were better off now than they were a year ago.

“The pain is not being shared equally, with a higher-than-average proportion of younger and BAME [black, Asian and minority ethnic] adults becoming vulnerable since March,” said Nisha Arora, the director of consumer and retail policy at the regulator.

One in six was expecting to take on more debt because of the pandemic, and the same proportion had availed themselves of the mortgage-payment break offered by lenders.

The survey polled more than 16,000 people between August 2019 and February 2020 – just as the pandemic was taking hold – and surveyed an additional 22,000 last October to take account of the economic fallout from Covid-19.

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