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Making Financial Inclusion a National Priority

Published: 17 Mar 2015


On Wednesday 11th March, the Financial Inclusion Commission launched their report on how to improve the Financial Health of the Nation. The report's findings are being discussed in a Westminster Hall debate today at 11am.

Sian Williams, Head of National Services at Toynbee Hall, is a commissioner for the project. Sian is an expert on inclusive access to financial services and financial capability and has led Toynbee Hall’s local and national financial inclusion programmes at Toynbee Hall since 2009.

Financial inclusion is an issue facing low-income families where, due to their circumstances, they are have limited access to appropriate financial services and consequently have to pay increased prices for goods and services. Known as a Poverty Premium, this can cost a family up to £1,300 a year. The report addresses the reality that financial inclusion affects millions and puts forward a set of recommendations, both for how the incoming government can address the existing problems as well as for fresh challenges such as universal credit.

Sian spoke on Radio 5 Live, ahead of the launch at Central Hall, Westminster, about how two million people in the UK are unbanked and therefore unable to obtain basic financial services. A bank account is essential in order to pay for services such as utilities and for employment. To hear more from Sian on financial inclusion, listen to her appearance on Radio 5 Live breakfast show on BBC iPlayer.

The Commission’s report reflects the work that Toynbee Hall has been doing to tackle the issue of financial inclusion. As well as providing free debt and money advice services, our Money Mentors programme and the MAP Tool have helped Tower Hamlets residents build their confidence in managing money and improve their financial health and wellbeing.

Read the Improving the Financial Health of the Nation report