Just over a year ago, the Prime Minister stood on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street and boldly committed to ‘tackle the burning injustices’ that impact low income communities. Since that moment a lot has happened, but one thing that has not changed is the existence of the Poverty Premium in Britain.
The poorest in society still pay more for those basic goods and services that we all rely on compared to those who are better off. With recent economic trends such as an increase in the average household debt being racked up, this is not a problem we can ignore any longer. A recent academic study into the Poverty Premium, produced by the Bristol University Financial Exclusion and Poverty Unit, found that on average the Poverty Premium cost the households on the lowest incomes £490 per year but this cost could be much higher if people inadvertently made the wrong choices. For some, that amount is the equivalent of a month’s rent, or the cost of insuring their car for the year – necessary costs which many people take for granted.
My colleagues at PwC and I have been working for over three years now with business, Whitehall and the third sector to encourage the development of new solutions to try to tackle the Poverty Premium – focusing specifically on the energy markets and financial services (we recently highlighted in our report with TheCityUK the role of the financial sector in meeting unmet societal needs).
We’ve found a genuine desire from business to do the right thing but translating this into tangible measures is more difficult. Two organisations which have participated in our programme of work are seeking to change this. Big Society Capital and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have now partnered with Ascension Ventures to launch Fair by Design – an investment fund and programme specifically designed to find and support innovative new ways to end the Poverty Premium…
Source – Huffington Post