Mitigating the impact of in-work poverty through financial inclusion
Last week the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s (JRF) latest research revealed the increase of in-work poverty in Wales. They found that 44% of those in low income households were adults or children in working families compared to 38% a decade earlier. It mapped in-work poverty across Wales and demonstrated a particular concentration of households experiencing in-work poverty in the West, North-West and East of Wales. This research forms part of JRF’s drive to create an evidence based anti-poverty strategy for all age groups in each nation of the UK. It is part of a range of evidence and policy reviews commissioned by JRF to better understand the existing body of knowledge on issues influencing poverty. These reviews are also examining the links between poverty and specific topics such as gender, disability and localisation.
The Foundation aims to use the evidence gathered in these reviews to develop a set of guiding policies and then produce a coherent set of actions by late 2015. We support the JRF’s commitment to producing a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to tackling poverty. This body of work will address the causes of poverty and suggest long-term strategies for reducing the impact of poverty. Yet the increasing numbers of individuals experiencing in-work poverty in Wales need help now.
Financial inclusion is key to both preventing poverty and enabling people to get out of poverty. Put simply, it means equipping people with the skills and knowledge to make income received go further. At the Wales Co-operative Centre, we aim to tackle financial exclusion by promoting fair access access to an appropriate range of financial products and services which help people to effectively manage their money. Our Financial Inclusion team designed the Welsh Government funded Money Made Clear Wales website. The website offers impartial tips and advice on debt management and signposts users to a range of specialised support services. The website also offers staff at those support services a forum for sharing best practice, materials and learning.
Our Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion project helps tenants to manage their money through a Credit Union Rent Account, reducing the risk of rent arrears, eviction and homelessness. The THFI Toolkit provides support and information to tenants, Local Authorities and private landlords.
Finally, our Financial Inclusion Champions work with a range of stakeholders, including local authorities, social landlords and other key partners such as credit unions and advice providers to promote financial inclusion locally. They work to further reduce the number of people who lack access to basic financial services – those with no savings, no bank account, and no access to money advice or affordable credit.
Financial Inclusion equips those currently experiencing in-work poverty with the skills and knowledge to make their money go further. It is a practical way to address the immediate problems faced by an increasing number of people in Wales.