New research by Royal London has indicated that 15.9 million consumers are more financially vulnerable as a result of the pandemic.
The research has found that the pandemic has caused a dramatic rise in the UK’s financial vulnerability with 15.9 million people (30%) now feel more financially vulnerable than they did in March 2020, of those, one third (33%) attributed this to a reduced income and almost one in five (19%) had a lack of savings to fall back on in the pandemic. Other reasons included taking on more debt (13%), and not being able to afford their living costs (11%).
The report says that building financial resilience lessens the impact of income uncertainty and provides a cushion to cope financially in unforeseen circumstances, of which the pandemic is not the only example. When thinking of the future and being able to respond financially to a change in life circumstances, just one in six (16%) say they feel very financially resilient, with men (20%) more likely to say this than women (12%).
To help improve financial resilience, Royal London has launched its Changemakers programme, committing £1.5 million over three years to support social enterprises that have created bold and innovative ideas to improve resilience and protect against life shocks, such as illness, divorce or change in income. 73% of social enterprises work directly with individuals facing disadvantage2, putting them in a strong position to drive meaningful change and use business as a force for good.
Royal London has worked with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) to identify ten Changemakers: social enterprises creating unique solutions to build people’s financial resilience. From providing sustainable employment to refugees on bread stalls across London, these Changemakers are already making a difference. They are:
Sarah Pennells, Consumer Finance Specialist at Royal London, said “We know that the pandemic has affected millions of people’s financial resilience and that’s why investing in these inspiring Changemakers is so important. Each social enterprise has either direct lived experience, or experience by association, of the problem they’re trying to solve and this comes with the passion to make a difference. We believe that these social enterprises can create real change and innovation is at the heart of it. We are delighted to support people who are looking at new ways of improving financial resilience.”
CJ Tayeh, Founder of Flank, which supports young adults on low income to repay debts owed to friends and family, said: “The biggest myth around financial insecurity is that it manifests in exclusively financial terms. When you immerse yourself in the lives of those struggling to pay their bills or buy groceries, you realise they are also struggling with their mental health, with job prospects, with nutrition to name a few. This means that financial intervention is rarely enough. My experience with young people living in social housing and temporary accommodation showed me that financial support needs to be embedded in socio-emotional support. Flank deploys these insights with trauma-informed design and AI technology to provide fairer, kinder credit for everyone.”