Royal London research finds 15.9m UK adults are more financially vulnerable as a result of the pandemic

24 August 2021

Father with small daughter drawing pictures, multi ethnic family and home office concept.

ICMIF member Royal London (UK) has launched the Changemakers campaign and announced the 10 social enterprises it will fund to help build financial resilience in the UK and Ireland.

According to new research from the mutual insurer, the pandemic has caused a dramatic rise in the UK’s financial vulnerability with 15.9 million* people (30%) saying they now feel more financially vulnerable than they did in March 2020.

Of those, one third (33%) attributed this to a reduced income and almost one in five (19%) had a lack of savings to fall back on in the pandemic. Other reasons included taking on more debt (13%), and not being able to afford their living costs (11%).

Building financial resilience lessens the impact of income uncertainty and provides a cushion to cope financially in unforeseen circumstances, of which the pandemic is not the only example. When thinking of the future and being able to respond financially to a change in life circumstances, just one in six people in the UK (16%) say they feel very financially resilient, with men (20%) more likely to say this than women (12%).

To help improve financial resilience in the UK, Royal London has launched its Changemakers programme, committing GBP 1.5 million over three years to support social enterprises that have created bold and innovative ideas to improve resilience and protect against life shocks, such as illness, divorce or change in income. 73% of social enterprises work directly with individuals facing disadvantage** putting them in a strong position to drive meaningful change and use business as a force for good.

Royal London has worked with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) to identify ten Changemakers: social enterprises creating unique solutions to build people’s financial resilience. From providing sustainable employment to refugees on bread stalls across London, these Changemakers are already making a difference. They are:

Sarah Pennells, Consumer Finance Specialist at Royal London, said: “We know that the pandemic has affected millions of people’s financial resilience and that’s why investing in these inspiring Changemakers is so important. Each social enterprise has either direct lived experience, or experience by association, of the problem they’re trying to solve and this comes with the passion to make a difference. We believe that these social enterprises can create real change and innovation is at the heart of it. We are delighted to support people who are looking at new ways of improving financial resilience.”

CJ Tayeh, Founder of Flank, which supports young adults on low income to repay debts owed to friends and family, said: “The biggest myth around financial insecurity is that it manifests in exclusively financial terms. When you immerse yourself in the lives of those struggling to pay their bills or buy groceries, you realise they are also struggling with their mental health, with job prospects, with nutrition to name a few. This means that financial intervention is rarely enough. My experience with young people living in social housing and temporary accommodation showed me that financial support needs to be embedded in socio-emotional support. Flank deploys these insights with trauma-informed design and AI technology to provide fairer, kinder credit for everyone.”

* Estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – June 2021 release.

** Capitalism in Crisis?: State of Social Enterprise Survey 2019



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