After the Taskforce: Monitoring Financial Inclusion (2012-2017)

Steve McKayThe Financial Inclusion Taskforce achieved a great deal in its time (2005-2011), not least in reducing the number of people who were ‘unbanked’ and increasing access to affordable credit. It also placed the issue of financial inclusion high on the policy agenda. Since then, however, the economic situation has placed great pressure on household budgets. And so there has been a real need to continue monitoring levels of financial inclusion to highlight areas of concern and feed into policy and practice debates about ways of maintaining, if not increasing, levels of financial inclusion.

The aim of this project was to monitor financial inclusion over a five year period. Funded by the Friends Provident Foundation, the project is led by Stephen McKay, University of Lincoln (pictured) and Karen Rowlingson.

The project kicked off with a stakeholder workshop on 24th January 2013 to discuss whether the definition of financial inclusion should adopt a narrower or broader focus, whether there is a need to change the definition and what new sources of data would be of most interest to policy makers, practitioners and academics. While other terms such as ‘financial citizenship’, ‘financial health’, ‘financial well-being’ and ‘financial security’ were discussed, the term financial inclusion does seem to still have general resonance and policy salience. We decided to continue to use this and focus on key aspects of financial inclusion as outlined in the Friends Provident Foundation’s ‘Vision’ for financial inclusion. This report, authored by Elaine Kempson and Sharon Collard in 2012 drew attention to the need for everyone to have access to, use and retain:

  • an appropriate account, or equivalent product, into which income is paid, can be held securely and accessed easily;
  • an appropriate method of paying, and spreading the cost of, household bills and other regular commitments; 
  • an appropriate method of paying for goods and services, including making remote purchases by telephone and on the Internet;
  • an appropriate means to smooth income and expenditure.

As well as analysing existing data on a range of indicators, we also gathered new data from placing questions on a general public omnibus survey. Our first annual report was published in 2013 and four subsequent reports have now been published (see below)

The fifth report was launched at a major symposium on financial inclusion with presentations from Baroness Claire Tyler, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion, Ms Sian Williams, Director of the Financial Health Exchange at Toynbee Hall, Professor Stephen McKay, University of Lincoln, Mr Christopher Woolard, an executive Financial Conduct Authority Board member and Director of Strategy and Competition and , Sir Brian Pomeroy, Former Chair of the Financial Inclusion Taskforce and current President of the Financial Inclusion Commission.  A report on the event can be found here.


Outcomes

Rowlingson, K and McKay, S (2017) Financial Inclusion Annual Monitoring Report 2017, University of Birmingham.

Rowlingson, K and McKay, S (2016) Financial Inclusion Annual Monitoring Report 2016, University of Birmingham.

Rowlingson, K and McKay, S (2015) Financial Inclusion Annual Monitoring Report 2015, University of Birmingham.

Rowlingson, K and McKay, S (2014) Financial Inclusion Annual Monitoring Report 2014, University of Birmingham.

Rowlingson, K and McKay, S (2013) Financial Inclusion Annual Monitoring Report 2013, University of Birmingham.

More information about the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM)