December 2023 | Fair Point | abrdn Financial Fairness Trust Newsletter

11 December 2023

Alistair Darling
The news of Alistair Darling’s passing came as a shock to many last month, including all of us at the Trust. Alistair was such an integral part of establishing and developing our work, and he will be sorely missed. Thank you for all the messages of support we have received, which we have been passing on to his family. We are aware that many who read this newsletter will want to pay their respects and there will be a memorial in Edinburgh on 19th December at 11am. More details here.

You can read our statement here.
More people getting into difficulties with credit
The latest edition of the Financial Fairness Tracker, a survey of 6,000 households analysed by a team at the University of Bristol, found 65% of UK households (18.4 million) have consumer debt and there are signs that credit stress may be worsening, with 16% owing money due to missing at least one repayment on a credit commitment, up from 11% in May 2023. Over four-in-ten households (12.5 million) have taken out new borrowing in the past six months.

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A better way forward for the state pension – a ‘four-point pension guarantee’
The Pensions Review, led by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in partnership with the Trust, released its latest major report last Wednesday. It suggests a new way forward for the state pension system, designed to provide a basis for financial security in retirement and ensure the state pension has a sustainable long-term future. This includes linking the state pension to a percentage of average full-time earnings.

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Pay inequalities at UK's largest companies remain constant
New research published today by the High Pay Centre think tank, funded by the Trust, shows that CEO to employee pay gaps at Britain’s biggest companies remained stable in 2022 after narrowing during the first year of the Covid pandemic and then widening again in 2021.

The report recommends that:

- Companies should provide more detailed information on how many jobs they provide at different pay levels.
- Outsourced workers, who often carry out very low-paid work, should be included in pay ratio calculations.
- Companies should be required to communicate information on CEO to worker pay gaps directly to their workforce, as well as publishing the figures in their annual report.

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50% of those behind on payments say they’ve had suicidal thoughts
New research published by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, supported by the Trust, is urgently calling on the government to introduce clear rules to stop lenders inundating people with letters, calls, texts and emails about missed payments. 

Money and Mental Health says this is causing unnecessary distress at a time when 50% of people who are behind on bills say they have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings in the past 20 months due to rising costs.

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Funding deadline
Our next funding deadline is 5th February. If you have an idea for a campaign, research or campaign project which will help people on low-to-middle incomes, have a look at our funding guidelines.