Help us to build a responsible financial system in 2014
2014 is set to be an exceptionally challenging year for the vast majority of British households. Many are still highly indebted and low on savings. Most are unlikely to see any increase in real wages. Food, fuel and transport costs continue to rise. Tenants face rent increases, and for those with mortgages there is the looming prospect of interest rates going up. Budgets are on a knife-edge. Although the economy is growing, Britain's personal debt crisis is far from resolved. In fact, many of the measures now being taken are likely to cause further difficulties for households and the wider economy down the line.
We can rightly be proud of last year's successes - notably the Government 'u' turn on caps for payday lenders and the first release of local bank lending data. However, the financial services system remains extremely regressive, and our mainstream lenders are clearly not meeting the needs of lower income communities.
There is much work to be done if we are to create a responsible and just financial system.
Our current priorities
We are currently focused on three priorities.
- We will work to inform the FCA's cap on payday lenders, and seek to broaden this out to cover other areas of the high cost credit market: ensuring that any caps and other rules relating to high cost credit are based on the very best international practice.
- We will continue to call the banks to account for their failure to meet the needs of lower income commmunities, and will work with local partnerships to help them open up an effective dialogue with policy makers and the financial services industry to rectify this.
- We will examine how our failing financial services system is contributing to growing wealth inequality and develop policy solutions to address this at the international, national and local levels.
Working with you
We cannot achieve our aims alone.
Over the past three years we have developed a strong network of support for our work throughout the country. Feedback from our events, and in respect of our research reports and policy positions has been very positive, particularly in the past 12 months. This year we will aim to further build, inform, and sustain this network by:
- Producing a bi-weekly e-briefing for our supporters;
- Publishing a quarterly pdf journal that provides an opportunity for new thinking and practical lessons to be shared;
- Continuing to create opportunities for us to come together throughout the year at conferences and seminars focused on the key issues as they arise, starting with our annual CfRC conference in Birmingham on 11th March.
Resourcing our work
To achieve our ambitions requires us to have a solid base of supporters and subscribers. Although we raise funding for specific research projects and by charging for our events, we have no 'core funding' or wealthy benefactors. Taking out a subscription to our e-briefing and journal publications is therefore extremely important to us. We hope that it will be to you too, as this will be our main method of keeping people up to date with the latest developments and to facilitate new thinking across the network. Taking out a subscription also entitles your organisation to a 10 per cent discount on delegate fees for our events.
Subscriptions for the year are priced (excl VAT):
- For third sector organisations at £90;
- For trades unions, public sector and educational institutions at £150;
- For private sector organisations at £250.
To order a subscription, please e-mail email@example.com
Become a CfRC Supporter!
This year we are also offering the opportunity for organisations who support our aims to take a more active role in the development of the Centre. In return for their financial support, we will invite organisations onto an Advisory Group, which will meet bi-annually to discuss priorities and help inform our work programme. Revenue raised from the supporting organisations will be critical in helping us deliver against this.
We do not wish to exclude smaller organisations from this group and the level of financial support required will be appropriate for the organisations applying to become CfRC Supporters. To discuss how your organisation can become a CfRC Supporter, please contact Damon Gibbons at firstname.lastname@example.org
Taking it forwards together
The challenges facing British households and lower income communities are set to increase further in the coming year. But this is also the year in which we have the opportunity to influence the manifesto commitments of political parties ahead of next May's General Election. There has never been a more urgent time for us to come together to develop a common programme to create a more responsible financial services system and present this effectively to policy-makers. We look forward to working with you to achieve that over the months ahead.
With best wishes