The Economic and Financial Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses and Communities in South London

Thu, 20 Jan 2022 19:00 in Discussion Forums

Venue: Online
Date: Thursday, 20 January 2022
Time: 19:00


  • Hannah Chapman, Programme Manager, 2-3 Degrees
  • Cllr Manju Shahul-Hameed, Labour Cabinet Member, Croydon. Cabinet Member for Communities, Safety and Business Recovery
  • Solomon Smith, Founder and CEO, Brixton Soup Kitchen
  • Iysha Arun, Research Fellow and Project Coordinator, Dialogue Society


Despite several measures put in place by the government to mediate the impact of the pandemic on peoples' livelihoods, several people have unfortunately faced financial difficulties during the pandemic. In a publication commissioned by Peabody, the Social Market Foundation found that in the early months of the pandemic it was noted that South London saw its unemployment level percentage increase by 129% (Norman and Corfe, 2020). Although this figure was the lowest in London, it was still a worrying reality.

Moreover, the Trust for London’s latest annual Poverty Profile has revealed that the number of people using food banks increased by 128% in London between September 2019 and 2020, compared to a 56% increase in the rest of England (Trust for London, 2021a). It has also been revealed that Londoners living in more deprived areas were more likely to feel the health and economic impacts of the pandemic (Trust for London, 2021b).

Before the pandemic, South London’s microeconomic productivity was relatively low compared to the rest of London due to sectoral composition and underperformance (Oxford Economics, 2021). With the potential of approximately 32,000 job losses between March 2020 and December 2021South London’s economic performance has fallen sharply in GVA -10.4% compared to London averages, and by -11.4% when held against national averages (ibid.).

As young people, local residents, and businesses within South London prepare for the new normal, whilst tinkering in and out of a seemingly perpetual series of lockdowns, it is significant to reflect on the difficulties we face in all spheres of economic life, including policy shortcomings in both central and local government, and the initiatives ran by community leaders with the intention of trying to reduce the impact on their target markets. Thus, our forward-thinking, community-oriented, and solution-based panel discussion will look at the economic impact of COVID-19 in South London as experienced by employees, employers, students, and dependents, and how our Local Communities have responded to the short-term shocks in the search for the long-term panacea. The aim of this dialogue is to bring forth deep reflection, capture nuance, and offer solutions on how to best reconstruct South London to prevent a repeat of such devastating economic impacts.


Norman, A. and Corfe, S. (2020) Lockdown in London: tracking the impact of coronavirus on the capital’s economy [Online:] Accessed: December 2021.

Oxford Economics (2021) The Future of South London Economy Post COVID-19: A Report for the South London Partnership [Online:] Accessed December 2021.

Trust for London (a) (2021) London’s Poverty Profile 2021: COVID-19 and Poverty in London [Online:] Accessed December 2021.

Trust for London (b) (2021) London’s Poverty Profile 2021: COVID-19 and Poverty in London [Online:] Accessed December 2021.


Hannah Chapman is an experienced Programme Manager and Workshop Facilitator for 2-3 Degrees, an award-winning social enterprise which equips young people with the tools to make positive life and employability decisions.

Chapman works within the youth personal development sector; where she creates, manages and facilitates engaging personal development programmes. Recent projects include the HeadStart and Stay Ready programmes.

Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed is a member of the Labour party and represents the Broad Green ward in the Borough of Croydon.

Solomon Smith is Co-Founder and CEO of Brixton Soup Kitchen. He established the Soup Kitchen in 2013 to feed those he knew were having to go without food.

With an academic background in youth and community work, completing work placements at homeless centres around South East London.

Smith, so far, has served more than 425,000 meals and provided a Covid-19 response team during lockdown. Additionally, Smith’s team sought to support economically vulnerable families over the past two Christmas holiday periods.