CSJ - How to help the financially excluded?
Last week this column demanded that the coming general election be a social justice election.
We asked what the next government will do to roll back the rise in family breakdown. How will it address the stark correlation between poverty and a poor education? How will it ensure that every child meets their full potential?
What policies will help those struggling with addiction or severe personal debt? And how can we build on a strong employment record to ensure that work always pays and is available for those that are able?
But while politicians wrestle with these problems in their manifestos, this week the CSJ publishes two separate reports specifically aimed at helping those in financial difficulty, which any future government would do well to consider.
The first, Creating a Society Free of Serious Personal Debt, aims for exactly what the title suggests.
Serious personal debt ruins lives.
It undermines mental and physical health, as well as employment prospects. And without work, there is little chance of paying off rapidly accumulating debts. As we have seen time and time again, poverty is both a cause and a consequence of serious personal debt.
The report examines two major policies: the expansion of the existing Help to Save programme, which gives people a savings buffer against income shocks, and the idea of statutory Breathing Space.
Breathing Space makes good sense and has broad support. The idea is to provide individuals with a repayment amnesty from debts and time to seek expert debt advice while putting together sustainable repayment plans and resolving the triggers that caused their problem debt in the first place. It is an idea whose time has come.
The second report we’ve published, Targeted, Timely and Reliable Access to Credit, explores the idea of a ‘back-banking’ system.
Back-banking is an odd sounding name, but the idea is simple.
Basic bank accounts are designed to serve people with bad credit scores and low incomes. But by design they do not allow overdrafts.
To help with cash flow management, these customers need access to a controlled line of credit at manageable rates. Could advances guaranteed by future Universal Credit income fill the gap?
We know too much cheap credit brings its own dangers, for lenders and individuals. But this report discusses these challenges openly and considers the benefits of a proposal, for which there is a clear need.
Both these reports were drawn from roundtables of politicians, our Alliance of poverty-fighting charities, and experts in the field, with the straightforward aim of helping those that need help most. Implementing them would be cheap and relatively uncomplicated.
For a government looking to tackle social injustices, these ideas would be a good starting point.
Latest News from
Reward farmers who help fight climate and nature crisis, urges IPPR think tank13/05/2021 14:35:00
Now the UK has left the EU’s agricultural schemes, the government should seize the opportunity to transform farming to protect the environment and secure the livelihoods of farmers, according to a new IPPR report.
IEA - Nanny statists have “exploited” this pandemic, says new research13/05/2021 13:35:00
Governments are increasingly adopting higher sin taxes and more prohibitions, finds the 2021 Nanny State Index
IFS - Elective hospital admissions dropped by a third last year, while outpatient appointments and non-COVID emergency admissions each fell by a fifth13/05/2021 12:35:00
New analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Harvard University and Imperial College London shows there were 2.9 million fewer planned admissions, 1.2 million fewer non-COVID-19 emergency inpatient admissions and 17.1 million fewer outpatient appointments between March and December 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.
Policy needs to adjust following encouraging GDP data, says IEA expert13/05/2021 11:35:00
Julian Jessop, Economics Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, commented on the latest GDP and trade data from the Office for National Statistics
Queen's speech: IPPR reaction to ‘policy gulf’ on environment, planning, health and care agenda13/05/2021 10:35:00
Think tank welcomes some targets and commitments, but says bold action and clear policy must follow
Ill-considered ‘junk food’ ad ban “has to be binned”, says IEA expert13/05/2021 09:35:00
Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs responded to renewed government plans to ban ‘junk food’ advertising
Adam Smith Inst - "Nutty nanny statism": Government plans to ban 'junk food' advertising online and after 9.00pm11/05/2021 16:35:00
The Adam Smith Institute’s Head of Research Matthew Lesh responded to the Government maintaining plans to ban so-called ‘junk food’ from online advertising and before 9.00pm on television
“Unlikely to supercharge economic growth”: IEA experts respond to Queen’s Speech11/05/2021 15:35:00
Mark Littlewood, Director General at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, commented on the Queen’s Speech
JRF - Queen’s Speech: Where is the Employment Bill for low-paid workers?11/05/2021 14:35:00
JRF responds to today's Queen's Speech
The apprenticeship levy should be scrapped completely, says IEA expert11/05/2021 13:35:00
Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the news that £1bn of apprenticeship levy funds has gone unspent in the nine months since last May