The House of Lords Liaison Committee has published its third follow-up report, “Tackling Financial Exclusion: A country that works for everyone? Follow-up report.”
The report analyses the progress made by the Government in the implementation of the recommendations made by the Select Committee on Financial Exclusion in its 2017 report, “Tackling Financial Exclusion: A country that works for everyone?”
The 2017 report outlined that over half of the population were classed by the FCA as having characteristics of financial vulnerability. This issue has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic with 14.2m people in the UK now estimated to have low financial resilience – characterised by over-indebtedness or with low levels of savings or low or erratic earnings.
The report’s central recommendations are:
- that the Government adopt a clear strategy and;
- that plans to grant the FCA powers to stop people experiencing financial exclusion (including the establishment of a statutory Duty of Care to replace the current requirement that firm’s ‘treat customers fairly’) are brought forward.
Other recommendations include that:
- proposed legislation to protect access to cash should be brought forward without delay;
- the Government should publish the timescale and details on the no-interest loan pilot;
- FCA’s powers to mitigate the trends in bank branch and free ATM closures should be reviewed and enhanced; and
- the Government should continue to work with the Post Office and UK Finance to roll out a public information campaign about the banking services that the Post Office offers.