The Big Lottery Fund, have announced plans to work with low-income households to develop a £55 million scheme to help boost access to appropriate financial services and products. Over the next four months, the new £55 million financial inclusion programme will be developed through a series of interviews, events and workshops which put the voices of those vulnerable to financial difficulties at the centre of the process. Their input will shape how the money is used to help people on low-incomes access financial services that can boost savings, increase protection against shocks, smooth incomes and widen access to fair, affordable and appropriate credit.
The £55 million financial inclusion fund comes from £330 million released from dormant accounts to be spent on good causes that was announced by Government in January this year.
The programme development work is being led by the Big Lottery Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, in collaboration with HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Money Advice Service. Organisations such as UK Finance, the Association for British Insurers, Responsible Finance, the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd, the Financial Inclusion Policy Forum and the End High Cost Credit Alliance will also be involved in the design process to understand where dormant accounts funding can have the biggest impact.
Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Financial struggles can make it hard to support a family, maintain mental health and wellbeing, or plan for the future. Looking afresh at these issues and involving those at the coalface in the design of possible solutions is at the heart of this next stage in the development of the Dormant Assets Financial Inclusion Programme.”
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: “This funding will benefit some of the most vulnerable in society by helping them access the right financial services when they need it most.
“I will work in close partnership with Big Lottery Fund and colleagues across Whitehall to devise these plans as part of our commitment to create a fairer society fit for the future.”
Following the engagement phase, Government Ministers will issue policy directions to the Big Lottery Fund, setting out what should be taken into account in determining the use of the funds and the purposes for which the money can be distributed. This is in line with the Dormant Bank and Building Society Act 2008. Further information about applying for funding will then be made available on the Big Lottery Fund website.
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