Commuters going to work waiting at train station platform in London city, UK

Financial wellbeing in London

Our partnerships managers for London Monica Kaur (East London) and Victoria Copeland (West London) share the key personal finance challenges facing the residents in the capital, and how your organisation can build financial wellbeing for your customers, colleagues and community.


Financial wellness challenges in London

Even before the COVID–19 pandemic, the capital struggled with some enduring challenges to widespread financial wellbeing.

According to the debt charity StepChange, Londoners – regardless of where they live in the city – are more at risk of problem debt than the UK average. The charity estimates over half a million Londoners are in problem debt (that is when someone becomes unable to pay their debts or other household bills).

Financial wellbeing challenges in London aren’t just about low incomes, however. The cost of living in London is very high and the City’s average weekly household spending is the highest in the UK – over £650 per week, compared to £457 in North-East England. (ONS, 2019)

Financial wellbeing is not just an issue for people on low incomes. Higher earners can experience significant challenges managing their money as well.

Businesses and organisations should always keep this fact in mind.

MaPS was established by the government to improve the financial wellbeing and education in every region and nation in the UK. We are leading the implementation of The UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing over the next decade.

We offer a wide array of free support to businesses, specifically tailored to each unique region and nation of the UK. If your organisation or head office is London-based, you can contact us for support.

Want to help employees manage their finances better? Use our syndicated guides, tools and calculators for free.

Coronavirus impact in London

Think of London and perhaps the first thing that springs to mind is high finance or politics. But the city is also home to an enormous retail, hospitality and tourism market. It’s also a varied environment, including industries that flourish in central London and in the outer boroughs.

In London’s outer boroughs alone, over 7% of residents work in “tourism characteristic industries” according to the ONS, reflecting the focus on passenger transport as this is the location of Heathrow Airport.

It’s these industries that were among the hardest hit by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. London was at the forefront of the pandemic’s direct impact in the UK in March and April 2020.

Have you been forced to make redundancies or might need to? The Money and Pensions Service has various support for people going through redundancy and related pensions help to support employees.

The economic consequences of COVID-19 continue to unfold:

  • The number of people claiming unemployment benefits increased by 2.5 times between January and May, compared to a UK average of 2.1 times.
  • Advertised job vacancies were down 56% in July compared to their pre-crisis level, much like the rest of the country.

The economic recovery in London has been uneven. Different parts and sectors of the city are recovering at different rates. Data on take-up of the government Job Retention Scheme confirm London’s resilience in professional and financial services, where remote working has enabled operation through the crisis.

Londoners and regional commuters have been avoiding public transport, so with 82% of commutes into the city centre usually made on public transport, a great deal of pre-crisis activity remains suppressed.

The viral outbreak has created some incidental benefits, however. Some spending has shifted to secondary town centres. Some smaller town centres such as Southall or East Ham have seen increases in transactions, while larger town centres have seen smaller decreases than in central London. So far London’s recovery looks suburban.

How MaPS can help your business or organisation

The Money and Pensions Service is here to help. We can support your organisation to offer free, impartial money and pensions guidance.

Contact your partnership manager

Talk to us about bespoke support for your organisation.


Monica’s role is to work closely with organisations from the private, public, voluntary/third sectors to support their wellbeing strategies by accessing free MaPS resources, removing the stigma attached to talking about money and providing impartial guidance. For more information about how she can help your organisation improve employee financial wellbeing, contact Monica.

Victoria’s main focus as a partnerships manager is to understand financial wellbeing needs in West London and how she can support them – from employers, local authorities, community groups, business groups and others. If you’re a business owner or third-sector organisation in West London seeking impartial guidance on financial wellbeing, contact Victoria.

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Managing money in uncertain times

Guides to support your employees and customers affected by the pandemic or rising living costs