Financial wellbeing in North West England
In the UK’s third most populated region, a traditional manufacturing core is increasingly joined by blooming finance and energy sectors. Our partnerships manager for the North West James Kelly looks at the overall picture – and how businesses can help the region’s people improve their financial wellness.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the North West underwent a prolonged period of economic restructuring. Since the turn of the millennium, however, the region has increasingly come into its own economically.
It is now the biggest regional contributor to the English economy outside of the South. The North West’s 3.7 million workers (based mainly in large settlements like Manchester, Liverpool and Warrington) accounted for 10% of the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP). (ONS, 2020)
Manufacturing, the region’s traditional key industry, remains a major employer in the region (10% of workers). This sector is now complemented by a bustling financial services sector, based mainly in and around Manchester and Liverpool.
Employers can play a huge role in how confident people in the region feel with their personal finances, such as pensions, saving and budgeting. The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) is here to help. We are set up by the government to offer free, impartial money and pensions guidance, and support your organisation to improve financial wellbeing for your employees, customers and community.
Want to help employees manage their finances better? Embed our syndicated guides, tools and calculators for free.
Financial wellbeing challenges in the North West
Despite these heartening improvements to our regional economy, stubborn financial wellbeing challenges persist.
- 19% (1.4m) of the region’s population have relatively low incomes.
- Wealth is concentrated in more affluent areas such as rural Cheshire, rural Lancashire and South Cumbria.
- 32% of children in the North West are living in poverty, compared to the UK average of 30%.
Many people in the region are not seeing the benefits of economic growth. A big part of changing this is helping those struggling to manage their money and debts to attain a higher level of financial literacy. This needs to happen through the region’s schools, employers and organisations such as charities and trade unions.
Impact of coronavirus on North West England
The impact of COVID–19 has been felt everywhere in the UK, but analysis from the Health Foundation indicates the North West has been particularly hard hit.
Our region has the highest percentage of ‘shielding’
(that is, clinically vulnerable people) in the UK
For both individuals and organisations this has been a difficult, stressful time. Hopeful signs are on the horizon, but financial wellbeing remains a vital way to alleviate difficulties faced by vulnerable people and their families.
Financial education in the North West
MaPS was established by the government to power-up financial education in every region and nation of the UK. We offer a wide array of free support to organisations and businesses, including:
- a selection of free printed guides for commercial businesses
- a Coronavirus Hub including a range of articles, tools and calculators to support your colleagues and customers
- a redundancy guides and related pensions support
- Pensions guidance to help plan for retirement and later life
- Our annual awareness campaign, Talk Money Week, which reaches millions of people each year and provides a platform to have a conversation about money in any walk of life.
In the North West, MaPS is working closely with key local employers like Jaguar Land Rover, Bury Council, Cobalt Housing and the Co-op to offer financial education resources to workers.
Our Money Navigator Tool offers personalized money guidance tailored to individual situations. Contact us to embed the tool on your website or intranet to support customers and employees through coronavirus.
MaPS wants to reach as many vulnerable and isolated people in the North West as possible. We can’t do this without our regional partners across Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria.
We’re always seeking new partners, who could be employers, manufacturers, energy providers or trade unions.
If you have an interest in improving financial wellbeing in the North West, we want to hear from you. This could mean MaPS joining existing networks and forums, or perhaps even creating new ones. Get in touch to find out about the free, bespoke support we can offer your organisation.
James is the partnerships manager for the MaPS in the North West region. His previous role was at Lloyds Banking Group where James developed options to assist customers who were in financial difficulty and/or significant arrears.Contact James for more information about how he can help your organisation improve employees’ financial wellbeing.