Fair4All Finance CEO Sacha Romanovitch OBE has been appointed to a new external Levelling Up Advisory Council.
The Council is part of a new accountability regime to provide independent expert advice on matters relating to the design and delivery of levelling up.
‘I bring specific expertise on financial inclusion – a crucial driver for levelling up – and I’m delighted to be part of the new Levelling Up Advisory Council’ says Romanovitch.
‘At Fair4All Finance we’re lucky to have relationships across civil society providing expert input and helping us understand what really works in communities. I look forward to bringing those relationships and experiences to bear in my advisory role on the Council.
‘Financial exclusion and low financial resilience are often key barriers to people playing their full part in communities. Addressing this alongside support for skills, social infrastructure and jobs and opportunities has the potential to transform lives.
‘Without access to fair and affordable financial services, everyday life events or financial shocks can tip people into financial vulnerability, force them to turn to high-cost credit, trap them in long-term debt and lead to homelessness. All of which have negative impacts on peoples’ health and ability to properly participate in society.
‘With the growing financial pressures of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, it’s vital that funding is directed to long-term sustainable investment in financial inclusion, social infrastructure and social enterprise. An inclusive economy that serves people well gives everyone a fair chance in life and I’m determined to make sure that we put people at the heart of levelling up.’
Financial wellbeing is an essential element of thriving communities
The pandemic has delivered very uneven outcomes across the country. While many have been able to save more, lots of families have seen savings eroded and about 11m people built up some £25bn of debt.
Fair4All Finance’s programmes widen access to fair and affordable financial products and services across England, particularly affordable credit for those who otherwise would not have access to money they need to meet their day-to-day expenses or one off unexpected costs.
We’ve seen how this can have a positive impact on individuals and communities through the community finance providers we support. So far we’ve committed around £30m to 36 community finance providers, supporting over 50% of affordable lending capacity to people in some of the most deprived areas in the country.
The wider benefits to society and the economy are significant too. An independent report into the social impact of one of our investees, Fair for You, showed how they have generated over £50m of social value since 2015, saved over £2m from reduced use of NHS services and helped move over 70% of their customers away from high-cost credit.
We use dormant assets funding to target investment to where it is most needed and in the most deprived areas in the country, considering factors such as IMD scores and the location of credit deserts.
- The majority of customers we support live in the most deprived 20% of areas, based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)
- 35% are lone parents with dependent children compared to 9% within the UK
- 58% are social housing tenants compared to 17% within England
We welcome the consideration of further Dormant Assets funding for financial inclusion in the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and look forward to continuing our mission to increase the financial resilience and wellbeing of people in vulnerable circumstances across the country.
Moneyline case study – From nowhere to turn, to a secure job, decent pay and no housing debt
This case study of one of the community organisations we invest in demonstrates the transformative impact that accessing a small amount of credit can have for someone’s overall wellbeing and ability to participate in society.
We supported Moneyline (a North West based community finance provider with branches including Salford, Bury and Grimsby) with long term funding to help them provide more affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances. Here’s how they helped one customer get her life back on track:
Laura (not her real name) had been through a messy divorce from an abusive relationship: ‘There are words for it now, I know now that he was ‘financially abusive’, that it was ‘coercive control’ of my life, and, as a parent you want to protect your children. I was at such a low, it’s difficult to tell you how debilitating the stress at the time was, on my own, with the boys, it was crippling.’
‘At one point I was working five jobs. Then I had an interview for a job that would mean 3 times, 4 times what I was earning, but you know, it’s so difficult, the washer wasn’t working, my options were non-existent. I saw a leaflet for Moneyline. They were ethical, reputable.’
‘When I told them my circumstances, they were amazing. They showed faith in me. It’s no exaggeration to say their support meant I could keep my family together. I know they’re not the cheapest, they’re taking a risk on high risk people, people who need a break, but the stability I got from that loan to fix that washer, they’ll never know how grateful I still am.’
Laura got the job and is in secure employment with decent pay and no housing debt: ‘They didn’t need to take an interest in me, to see me as a person. A lot of other lenders turn their back on you. When they transferred me those funds, that day, they were saying ‘let us see how we can help’. What a difference it made. What a relief. They have helped me to progress, to the point now where I can say, ‘I’ve got this.’