Back to Media Centre

NEW FUNDING PROGRAMME: Climate Change and Household Finances in the UK

11 Jan 2024

abrdn Financial Fairness Trust has opened a new funding programme, Climate Change and Household Finances in the UK. The next funding deadline is 5th February 2024, at 1pm.

We are seeking applications from organisations for policy, research and campaigning work which will protect and improve the household finances of people on low-to-middle incomes in the UK during the transition to Net Zero and adjustment to climate change. Please read our funding criteria alongside this information to guide your application.

This new programme sits alongside our existing funding programmes. Organisations can still apply to these, and details can be found here.

The context of the Climate Change and Household Finances in the UK programme

Along with many others we recognise the grave threat that climate change presents to all of us. What has been less present in this debate has been the impact of climate change on the living standards of people on low-to-middle incomes. The Trust therefore aims to fund more research, policy work and campaigning activities that will protect and improve the finances of people on low-to-middle incomes as the UK adapts to climate change and works towards meeting Net Zero targets.

We also want to support further collaboration between organisations working on environmental issues and those working on living standards. It is vital that the UK’s Net Zero transition agenda takes full account of the impacts of policy change on people on low-to-middle incomes.

As with our existing funding programmes, we aim to fund work that has the potential to lead to structural policy change at the national level. We are highly unlikely to fund work focussed on changing individual behaviour.

The funding process
The Climate Change and Household Finances in the UK fund can be applied to through our open funding rounds held annually in February and June. The fund follows the same funding process as our existing funding programmes focussed on income, spending and assets.

Criteria
Our existing criteria apply to this funding round. Additionally:
- Applicants must have a conversation with a Trust grant officer before submitting an application to the Climate Change and Household Finances grant round.
- Applications for Climate Change and Household Finances grants can be across any of our three existing programme areas: income; assets; spending.
- There is no minimum or maximum funding allocation per programme, so applicants are encouraged to submit to whichever programme seems the best fit for their proposal. Some proposals will fit within multiple programmes.

Areas of special interest
We are particularly interested in applications to carry out research, policy and campaigning work on the following areas:
- Transport
Work to improve our transport infrastructure towards greener transport, especially affordable and accessible public transport, to reduce costs for low-to-middle income households. We are also interested in research and policy work on the impact on public finances and the distributional impact of reforms to existing taxation related to transport, such as fuel duty revenue or aviation taxes.
- Consumerism
We are interested in work that acknowledges a significant reduction in consumption is needed, without making it impossible for low-to-middle income people to purchase goods and services to meet their needs properly. We are keen to support work to examine consumption inequalities or to explore the potential ramifications for products such as home insurance, which may not be fit for purpose to cope with increased climate-related risks.
- Energy use
While there is Government funding available to support households with insulation and transitioning to sustainable energy usage, current policies have not yet resulted in the scale and speed of take up required. Delivery of a number of schemes has been problematic. The upfront costs of installing heat pumps and retrofitting homes with insulation are prohibitive for many. We are interested in solutions that are appropriate to housing tenure and ensure the right support for low-income owner occupiers.
- Labour market transitions
Household incomes and access to employment is at stake in the transition to ‘green’ jobs from carbon-based sectors. Industrial strategy will play a critical role in the transition to Net Zero, and there will be opportunities to advocate for better paid work, with improved conditions. We are interested in policy work to set out the training needs to ensure the UK has sufficient workers with the correct skills in the right places to enable a transition to Net Zero.
- Scotland and UK-wide work
We will fund work that is UK-wide and/or Scotland-wide. As a Scottish charity, we welcome proposals focussed on Scotland, particularly given the challenges posed by the historic relationship of the Scottish economy to fossil fuel production.
- Other Net Zero and financial wellbeing themes
We will consider applications for policy and campaigning work on other relevant themes for Net Zero and financial wellbeing, as long as your proposed work meets our general funding criteria and the criteria of this fund.

Timeline
The deadline for first round applications is Monday 5th February 2024, at 1pm. Applicants will be advised if their proposal has been shortlisted by mid-March 2024. Shortlisted applicants will be required to develop second stage applications throughout March-June 2024. Final decisions on funding will be taken by our Board in July 2024.

FAQs
When is the deadline for applications?
First round applications are due on 5th February 2024 at 1pm. This is the same deadline as our other funding programmes. The next deadline will be Monday June 3rd 2024 at 1pm.

How much funding is available?
This programme comes within our usual grants funding. As a general guide, we plan to make grants totalling up to £3m in 2024. Please see ‘How much you can apply for’ on page 7 of our Funding Guidelines, about individual grant size and duration.

Do I need to speak to someone before applying?
Yes. This conversation is a condition of reviewing your funding application for the Climate Change and Household Finances in the UK programme. We will not accept applications from organisations who have not spoken to one of our Grants Officers in advance. We want to make the best use of your time and ours, and receive applications that align with our criteria.

Will you fund projects to improve living standards in non-financial ways, such as projects to improve air quality or public green spaces?
No. We will only fund projects that could have a demonstrable impact on the financial well-being of low-to-middle income households. We are not able to fund projects that may improve people’s quality of life but not their finances.

Will you fund international work?
The focus of our work is low-to-middle income households in the UK. We will consider research and policy projects that analyse policies in other countries that may be relevant to the UK, but we will not fund projects focussed on other countries.

Do you fund local work or direct delivery work?
No. We are interested in work that has a national impact, either at UK-wide level, or devolved national level. We will not fund work that is focused on local areas. We do not fund direct delivery work. Please see our main criteria for more details.

Can policy and campaigning work involve the experiences of people on low-to-middle incomes?
Yes. We have identified a need for more national-level policy and campaigning work on Net Zero and the climate crisis that centres the experiences and interests of people on low-to-middle incomes in protecting and enhancing living standards. This work must meet the Trust’s existing criteria about policy change and effective campaigning. We will not fund work that focuses solely on capturing experiences rather than campaigning for policy change.

Are you interested in work on environmental or Net Zero education for people on low-to-middle incomes?
We are extremely unlikely to fund work that focusses on financial education and Net Zero for people on low-to-middle incomes. The Trust’s interest here, and across our work, is the structural and political barriers that prevent people from enjoying good living standards, rather than the behaviour of individuals.

Who should I contact?
You can contact Viv Jackson, Programme Manager (vivienne.jackson@financialfairness.org.uk) who will organise a conversation with her or another grant officer.