What we learned this week: All change?

07 February 2020

All change?

January is finally over. The nights are getting a bit lighter, we’re closer to warmer days, and those who were doing Dry January or Veganuary can start picking up their old habits where they left off. Talking of old habits and things not changing, much of the research out this week relates to change, sometimes for the better, but not always.

Help for people in persistent credit card debt

Borrowers trapped in costly credit card debt were thrown a lifeline on Monday when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) urged lenders to drop fees for people who are struggling to cope. According to the FCA, an estimated 1.78 million credit card customers are stuck in persistent debt, paying £1.3 billion a year in interest charges.

The FCA told several credit card firms to help borrowers in “persistent debt” by waiving interest fees and charges rather than cancelling their cards.

Working poverty increasing but work is still the best route out of poverty

Resolution Foundation reported that back in the mid-90s half of poor adults lived in working households. Today, almost 7-in-10 poor adults either work themselves, or live with someone who does. However, in-work poverty is a fluid state. Tracking families over a three-year period, half were able to escape poverty. But a similar proportion fell into poverty over that period.

Universal credit rollout delayed again - to 2024

The BBC reported that full rollout of universal credit, the government's flagship welfare reform, is being delayed again, adding £500m to its overall cost.

People told the BBC they were ‘scared’ to move onto universal credit and it has not been without its problems. We are funding Refuge to campaign to secure changes to Universal Credit which could reduce the prevalence of welfare-based economic abuse.

Poverty and Inequality Commission Scotland (PICS) developing guidance on involving people with lived experience of poverty

On Wednesday the PICS announced that they have commissioned Poverty Alliance and the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit (SPIRU) to develop guidance how organisations can involve people with direct lived experience of poverty in our work.

This news came on the same day that The Care Review published their report The Promise featuring young people’s experience of the care system and asked the Scottish government to pledge to #keepthepromise.

A new way to cut down on food waste

This week we discovered Too Good To Go, an app which enables restaurants and cafes to sell food they would otherwise have thrown away on the cheap. It’s win-win, offering customers who care about food waste the chance to grab something cheap to eat and make a difference at the same time. Rock-bottom prices are not unusual: £10.60 worth of great food for £3.49, anyone?

Thanks to the following for their tweets this week: @resfoundation, @MoneySavingExp, @fionacarereview

Copyright Standard Life Foundation 2020.

The views shared by contributors to this newsletter are not representative of the Foundation but cover issues of interest to the Foundation. More about our funding priorities can be found here.