At the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on 25 September, CHASM hosted a fringe event to bring together policy makers and campaigners to discuss how we can win the campaign to end high cost credit.
The panel included Professor Karen Rowlingson; Matthew Upton, Director of Policy at Citizens Advice; Stella Creasy MP, a long-standing campaigner against payday loans; Laura Smith MP; Ann Pettifor, Director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign and adviser to John McDonnell; and Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Shadow City Minister. With various views and ideas put forward by the panel, this fringe made for a lively and interesting debate with over 60 delegates attending.
CHASM’s Professor Karen Rowlingson was also on the panel at the Bright Blue fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on 1 October titled ‘Can tech save savings?’. In discussions with panellists such as Guy Opperman MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, Karen highlighted the findings from her recent Financial Inclusion Monitoring Briefing Paper, written with Professor Steve McKay. This briefing paper builds on five previous annual reports to measure changing levels of financial inclusion in Britain from 2013-2017. Karen also highlighted the upcoming research that CHASM’s Professor Andy Lymer and Dr James Gregory is undertaking at present for HMRC to explore FinTech products currently being used to support low-income saving in the sector, to support their Help to Save Scheme. The research will identify the latest trends and innovations in services that provide complementary habit forming and motivational support for savings and budgeting. Outputs will include a guide, report and academic publications that will provide guidance for directions of innovation for the Help to Save app, with a view to maximising the scheme’s uptake by eligible users and maximising engagement and savings by those users who register.