Financial Inclusion

Overview

The financial services industry is regressive. Higher earners access better and often cheaper financial products than those on low incomes. Indeed, those on lower incomes frequently find it impossible to access the very services they need to run their lives well. This is adding to the inequalities we see in society and is an important factor in the growing mental health crisis.

It is a paradox of our current financial system that the people who might benefit most from the provision of intelligent financial support, are the ones least able to access it. We believe that participation in economic life provides the most important gateway into inclusion in the rest of society itself. This issue should be a pressing concern for all leaders because ultimately we cannot expect to sustain successful business in an unsuccessful society, and yet business has much of the resource and infrastructure which is capable of solving the issues that we see today.


Context

Average wages are below what they were a decade ago, with people aged between 30 and 39, £2,100 a year worse off than in 2008.

As a result a third of all workers state that they do not earn enough to keep up with the cost of living. Add to this the increase in insecure work, and it should come as no surprise to find that 21 million people have less that £100 savings buffer in the bank and that the numbers slipping into ‘in work poverty’ are on the rise. The consequences are, say the Office for National Statistics, a surge in the amount of personal indebtedness, now at the highest level ever recorded in the UK’s history. This is a point echoed by Lord Bagri, a Professor of Economics at London Business School, who says that we face a looming debt crisis.



Other financial commentators warn of an unsustainable consumer credit bubble of £200bn. There are of course wider implications. The rise in unscrupulous credit lenders, generation rent, the growth in food banks and the lack of adequate savings for retirement. This kind of financial insecurity is driving anxiety and mental health issues with a worrying knock on impact on life expectancy and impaired cognitive development in children.

Against this backdrop we find that 2 million people do not in fact have a bank account, struggle to access affordable credit and are priced out of affordable insurance because of the areas in which they live. And yet the advice and education available to everyday people remains so inadequate that many are simply unable to make informed choices.


Aims

  • To raise awareness of the nature, scale and impact of financial exclusion in the UK, by bringing together people from across the financial ecosystem in highly participative and innovative ways, getting to the heart of the challenges everyday people face.
  • To form an alliance of leaders, who are committed to finding scaleable solutions to these complex issues.
  • To create a financial inclusion Summit in 2019 at which the findings from our research will be shared with a call for further action and support.

On the 16th October, Tomorrow’s Company hosted a roundtable to discuss these issues. You can find out more about the outcomes of that event here.

 


Photo credits for this page to Christa Dodoo and rawpixel.

Sign-up to our mailing list to receive all our latest discussions, publications and events.