What is Help to Save?
Help to Save is a type of savings account. It allows those with low incomes who are entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over 4 years.
Our response to the consultation
We have responded to the government’s consultation on reforming Help to Save, including recommendations to expand the range of providers who can offer a Help to Save account to include credit unions.
We welcome the government’s announcement of the extension of Help To Save as well as the decision to consult on reforms to the scheme.
This is a great opportunity to expand access to this generous scheme at a time when low income households are struggling more than ever to save.
Our response draws on Fair4All Finance’s work with people in financially vulnerable circumstances and applies lessons from the success of community finance providers in helping people with low incomes develop savings habits. In order to improve uptake, we believe it is important that the scheme is designed to be as simple and frictionless as possible, and that it works in a way that reflects the complex financial lives of the people it supports.
Our suggestions for reform include
- Expanding the range of providers who can offer a Help To Save account in order to increase uptake of the scheme. In particular, allowing the scheme to be run through credit union accounts would harness the huge success of community finance in promoting savings among people with low incomes
- Learning from the success of pensions auto enrolment and considering automatically setting up new benefit claimants with a Help To Save account
- Expanding the eligibility of the scheme to include people with low incomes who don’t work, such as pensioners and carers, and making the scheme work better for people with variable incomes