Affordable credit: lessons from overseas: a report for Consumer Focus by the Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC) University of Bristol

Document type
Corporate author(s)
University of Bristol. Personal Finance Research Centre
Consumer Focus
Date of publication
1 September 2011
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This report explores how the UK can most effectively ensure the provision of affordable credit to people on low incomes, particularly within the context of the available evidence on affordable credit emerging from other major OECD economies of France, Germany and Australia. The Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government is currently consulting on how it might reform and strengthen the British consumer credit market to ensure it is fit for the future. This review suggests tentative conclusions under seven broad headings: financial inclusion; information; monitoring and regulation; high street banks and building societies; social banking; choice; and living standards. Included in the findings of the report is that the comparative evidence on financial inclusion in the EU suggests that more needs to be done to improve levels of financial inclusion in the UK. Further, the credit industry in the UK could do more to establish clear and accepted codes of practice among suppliers of credit; there is a clear role for better self-regulation by the credit industry. There is also a strong and credible argument, particularly based on evidence from Australia where major banks have teamed up with leading charities, that high street banks in the UK could do more to make affordable credit available to those on low and minimum incomes.

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