Money Wellness
Illustration of hands casting their vote at the ballot box
category iconMoney Wellness
calendar icon24 Jun 2024

Our election manifesto

Hot on the heels of the political parties’ manifestos, we reveal the policies we’d like to see introduced by the next government.

The July general election will take place against a backdrop of worsening financial inequality in the UK. Figures from the World Inequality Lab show that in 2021, the bottom 50% of the population in the UK owned less than 5% of wealth, while the top 10% owned 57%. Whoever forms the next government needs to make tackling this inequality a top priority.

Minister for financial equality

To support this, we’re calling for a minister for financial equality to be appointed who will be responsible for evaluating all government policies to make sure they don’t disproportionately impact the economic wellbeing of certain sectors of society – such as single-parent families.

Free school meals

In addition to that, we want free school meals for all primary school children. Not only is allowing schoolchildren to go hungry unforgivable from a basic human rights perspective, it also perpetuates a cycle of poverty as it affects youngsters' concentration levels in class and prevents those from low-income families fulfilling their potential.

Scrap the two-child benefit cap

It’s for very similar reasons we’re also calling for the two-child benefit cap to be abolished. Figures from the Child Poverty Action Group show this would be the most cost-effective way of reducing child poverty in the UK, lifting a quarter of a million youngsters completely out of poverty and improving life for another 850,000 kids. Without reform, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned a further 670,000 children will be affected by the end of the next parliament.

Improve financial education

Better financial education in schools is another measure that would help to improve prospects for all children by helping them avoid future issues with problem debt. An ongoing survey of our customers found 94% didn’t receive any financial education and 83% felt having done so would have made a significant difference to their current situation.

Cut benefit deductions

Another measure currently trapping people in poverty and debt is benefit deductions by the Department for Work and Pensions. Figures from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) show cuts to the benefits system made over the last 14 years have left income support at its lowest level in 40 years forcing nearly four million households into destitution. People trying to survive on inadequate income inevitably increase their reliance on debt. And the government plays a significant role in creating and chasing this debt. NEF found, in 2023, half of households on universal credit had an average debt deduction of £63 a month automatically taken from their standard allowance. The social security system is already unable to prevent people from being forced into poverty. Debt deductions undermine it further, worsening the hardship people face. By recovering arrears so aggressively, the government is perpetuating a cycle of debt and poverty. We’re backing NEF’s calls to reduce maximum deductions from 25% to 15%.

Help with energy arrears

Similarly, sky-high energy arrears are trapping people in a cycle of debt. Over half of people who ring us for debt advice (53%) are behind with their energy bills. That’s why we’re calling for the government to work with Ofgem to introduce a framework for suppliers so that all struggling customers are referred for free debt advice and a range of repayment options are introduced, including debt forgiveness in certain cases.

Replace the insolvency register

And finally, we’re calling for the Individual Insolvency Register to be replaced with a private alternative. Publishing the personal details of people with insolvency solutions in a publicly available register (and the Gazette) only serves to increase the stigma of debt. Introducing a private register, accessible only to lenders and others with a legitimate interest, would remove an unnecessary obstacle currently putting people off getting the help they so desperately need. It would also have the added advantage of removing the need for victims of domestic violence, and others whose safety is at risk, from having to apply to court at a cost of £308 for a person at risk of violence order to prevent their address being made public.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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