Fair4All Finance welcomes Danny Kruger’s ambitious report exploring proposals for a new social covenant. The report highlights the critical role of a supportive legislative infrastructure, pioneering civil society leaders and appropriate funding sources in delivering change for those who most need it.
Community finance and social investment
Like many organisations, the community finance sector has played a vital role in supporting some of the customers most badly hit financially by the Covid-19 crisis. CDFIs and credit unions will continue to play a key role in making affordable finance available to individuals who need it to get by, including through no interest loans where appropriate.
A social investment model of funding community finance through government supported long-term patient capital, along with debt financing from commercial lenders, will significantly scale this type of provision.
Collaboration is key
The report rightly highlights that every organisation is part of civil society, including charities, social enterprises and businesses. We look forward to continuing to build strong partnerships across each of these sectors to improve the financial wellbeing of those in vulnerable circumstances, and in particular, collaborating with financial services firms to support sustainable product offerings for those most in need.
Local solutions for local problems
Furthermore, we agree with the report’s focus on concentrating resources on those places that have been left behind in our post-industrial economy. Financial inclusion is a localised problem which requires tailored local solutions and strong community leadership. Fair4All Finance would be pleased to play a delivery role in taking this agenda forward, ensuring that local systems are in place to help with problem debt and to provide a further safety net for individuals. As the report identifies, faith groups play an important existing role in delivering this support which could be bolstered through a deal with government.
Lastly, the report makes reference to the importance of measuring the contribution of civil society to the economy. Fair for You are an example of an outstanding social organisation who have not only measured their impact on customers but have identified millions of pounds of cost savings to the NHS through their affordable credit intervention. We would encourage policy makers and organisations across civil society to follow this approach of identifying those secondary impacts to demonstrate the importance of the social sector.
We look forward to working with the Secretary of State for DCMS Oliver Dowden, the Minister for Civil Society Baroness Barran and Danny Kruger to take this incredibly important agenda forward.