Publication - Research and analysis

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on wellbeing: wave 3 - survey summary

Published: 9 Jun 2021

Findings from the final wave of a telephone survey we commissioned to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people in Scotland.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on wellbeing: wave 3 - survey summary
2. Impact on Support and Income

2. Impact on Support and Income

Respondents were asked about help they had received, and any additional help they needed. They were also asked whether their income had changed, and their views on their current financial situation.

Overview of changes:


  • People were much less likely to be receiving support in March 2021 compared to May 2020.
  • Under half (44%) reported receiving support in March 2021, down from 58% in December 2020, and 73% in May 2020.
  • Compared to May 2020, the percentage of respondents who said that others were getting in touch to check they were OK has halved from 63% in May 2020 to a third (32%) in March 2021.
  • In March 2021, 10% said others were doing food shopping for them down from 22% in May 2020.


  • Level of unmet need remained similar across the survey waves at around 16%.
  • A small minority in March 2021 needed financial help to pay for essentials (4%), similar to December 2020 and May 2020.
  • However, the majority (84%) stated they did not need any further help.

Working situation:

  • Just under a third (31%) were likely to be working from home more often in May 2020 and this increased slightly to 33% in March 2021.
  • There was an increase from May 2020 to March 2021 in those who reported losing their job or being made redundant (11% to 13%).


  • Compared to May 2020, twice as many respondents reported their income was higher than before the pandemic (16% up from 8%).
  • A quarter reported their income was lower than before the pandemic (24%).
  • For the majority (59%), household income has remained the same.
Figure 4: Proportion who reported receiving or needing help in the past month
Bar chart showing a decrease in help received between W1 (73%) and W3 (44%) but stability in proportion reporting no extra support needed (84-85%).

Overall, people have experienced much less support during the second period of national lockdown restrictions - both in terms of checking in with others to see if they are ok, and with practical support with things like food shopping. However, this is balanced with evidence, collected at every wave of data collection, stating that a high proportion (over 80%) feel they do not need any further help.

The impact on income has been mixed with an increase over time in those reporting a higher income. However, from December 2020 to March 2021 a quarter reported that their income is lower than before the pandemic. This sits alongside evidence that work has changed for people in terms of either losing their job, being made redundant or adapting to an increase in home working.

Figure 5: Proportion who reported changes in income since COVID-19
Bar chart showing more reporting an increase in income between W1 and W3 (8-16%) and fewer reporting a decrease (32-24%).

Focus on different groups (Data from Wave 3/March 2021)


Women were more likely to have food shopping done for them, and have greater needs with help to care for a relative.


People over 70 are more likely to have people getting in touch to see if they are ok.

People aged 25-34 are more likely to need financial help and advice, and report their income is lower than before pandemic.

Household income

Lower income households are more likely to report receiving help, and need financial advice and help to pay for essentials.

Higher income households are more likely to report needing help with child care.

Living situation

Small older households are more likely to need help to care for another person.

People in households with children are more likely to have a lower income since the pandemic began.

Those living alone are more likely to say they are not managing well financially or having financial difficulties.


Disabled people are more likely to need help with mental health, and shopping or getting medicines and manage less financially.