Financial wellbeing in the East Midlands
East Midlands partnerships manager Paul Rhodes looks at the challenges around employee financial wellbeing in the East Midlands, how it can impact your business, and the ways in which the Money and Pensions Service can help.
Economically, the East Midlands profits from its relative proximity to London. Its position on the national motorway and trunk road networks have helped the region to thrive as an economic hub.
But trends change, and unforeseen circumstances – such as COVID–19, for example – can alter this economic formula. Long term, a sustainable economic future for our region will depend, in part, on widespread financial literacy.
That’s why the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) was set up. MaPS was established by the government to improve financial education in every region and country in the UK. Our work is done regionally as well as nationally, on the ground with stakeholders.
At present, our region has the lowest proportion of children receiving a meaningful financial education (MaPS, 2020). This needs to change – but establishing and maintaining a culture of financial wellbeing in the East Midlands can’t and won’t stop in schools. Employers will need to play their part too.
And it will be in their best interests financially to take on this responsibility: it’s estimated that more than £15 billion is lost each year by businesses across the UK due to employee absences caused by financial stress (Neyber, 2019).
Want to help employees manage their finances better? Use our syndicated guides, tools and calculators for free.
Financial wellness challenges in the East Midlands
Saving and budgeting
People across the UK aren’t saving enough. In the East Midlands, this issue is particularly acute. Only half of the working-age people in the area save regularly, but we know that in the last year 71% of adults receive an unexpected bill each year (MaPS, 2020).
Debt and borrowing
Clearly, these current figures cannot coexist happily with widespread financial wellbeing. The stress and worry caused by not having a financial buffer is enough to derail financial wellbeing in itself, let alone the debt trap that comes with emergency borrowing.
According to our statistics, around 500,000 (13%) of adults in the East Midlands use credit (so some form of lending) to pay for everyday bills (MaPS, 2020). We also know that less than a third of adults (32%) have accessed debt advice.
Effects of the pandemic on financial wellbeing
The concern is that the economic impacts of COVID–19 could worsen financial wellbeing trends. Analysis by the Centre for Progressive Policy analysis found the decline in economic output is estimated to reach close to 50% in parts of the Midlands. The East Midlands’ regional economy could shrink by almost 10%.
Free financial education in the East Midlands
In the current difficult financial circumstances, financial education is more important than ever. Being financially literate means people understand how to borrow better, have strategies for saving (even if just a little bit each month) and understand their pension options.
That’s what MaPS is doing in the East Midlands and beyond. In my role as partnerships manager, I work with organisations across the region – schools, businesses, charities, you name it – to ensure every single person can access free, high-quality financial education resources. So get in touch with me to find out how I could support you and your organisation.
Financial education resources for the East Midlands
Here are just a few of the MaPS resources we offer:
- businesses can order a selection of money guides in print, Braille or audio format for free
- a Coronavirus Hub full of guides on topical issues, including redundancy support designed for your employees
- pensions guides, including specialist guidance for life stages such as redundancy, divorce and scams
- our annual Talk Money Week campaign, which provides a platform to have a conversation about money between families and friends, at work, school or any other walk of life.
Contact Paul Rhodes
Paul helps organisations like yours across the East Midlands to help improve the region’s financial wellbeing and support business performance.
Contact him on Paul.Rhodes@maps.org.uk to see what he can do for your business.