Financial wellbeing in Yorkshire and the Humber
Like in the rest of the country, the COVID–19 pandemic has added to the existing financial wellness challenges in Yorkshire and the Humber. Our partnerships manager for Yorkshire and the Humber Jenny Wright looks at the situation on the ground and how financial wellbeing can help your business or organisation.
Yorkshire and the Humber’s five million-plus residents and 270,000 businesses add over £80 billion to the British economy. In that sense, the term ‘Northern Powerhouse’, conceived by the government over the past few years, is quite appropriate.
The raw materials for economic prosperity are all there. But economic and social exclusion persist in large parts of the region. Yorkshire and the Humber has significantly lower levels of employment of working-age people compared to the England average (ONS, 2020), but many jobs that are generated are low paid and insecure.
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 help your customers, colleagues and community build financial wellbeing.
Want to help employees manage their finances better? Use our guides, tools and calculators for free.
Financial challenges and debt in Yorkshire and the Humber
People living in Yorkshire and the Humber are most likely to be in financial difficulty because they have missed paying domestic bills or meeting credit commitments in three or more of the last six months.
Average income in Yorkshire
While house prices are much lower than the English average (£190,377 compared with £304,681) and mortgage debt is consequently lower, average household incomes are below the English average too (£38,612 compared with £43,960). (Department of Work and Pensions, 2018)
Average amount of debt owed in Yorkshire
Generally speaking, ‘unsecured debt’ (credit card debt, for example) is lower than the UK average – adults in the region owe £2,960 each in unsecured debt. This is the lowest amount anywhere in the UK and compares to the UK average of £3,320. (Financial Conduct Authority Financial Lives Survey, 2018)
But again, averages don’t tell the full story. Even small amounts of debt can prove challenging for financially stressed households. In that category, the region ranks ahead of the UK:
11% of people in the region are ‘in difficulty’ compared to a UK average of 8%, and 19.8% of children live in poverty/low-income households.(FCA Financial Lives Survey, 2018)
Impact of coronavirus on Yorkshire businesses
As with everywhere else in the UK, the COVID–19 pandemic has exacerbated
these enduring financial wellness challenges. Nearly one million (711,700) workers
were furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme, and nearly 30% of businesses furloughed employees.
It’s been a tough time for businesses and employees. Many workers have seen reduced incomes and hours, adding to existing stresses and worsening issues like problem debt (that is, debt that a person struggles to repay or manage).
Financial education is a key way to tackle our region’s long term issues – and to support residents as they deal with the effects of the pandemic. By helping employees understand key financial topics like debt, saving and pensions, we can make Yorkshire and the Humber much more financially resilient.
Financial education in Yorkshire and the Humber
In these challenging circumstances, a little bit of financial education can go a long way. While it’s not the solution to all of Yorkshire and the Humber’s enduring difficulties, greater financial literacy empowers people to make good financial choices and, as a result, dramatically improve their quality of life.
MaPS was established by the government to power-up financial wellbeing in every region and nation in the UK.
Here at MaPS, we define financial wellbeing as feeling secure and in control. It’s knowing that you can pay the bills today, can deal with the unexpected, and are on track for a healthy financial future. In short: feeling confident and empowered with your money.
We offer a wide array of free support to organisations and businesses. Get in touch for free, bespoke support on how to build financial wellbeing in your organisation.
MaPS offers organisations a range of support, including:
- a dedicated partnership manager based in your region to offer bespoke support
- cost of living resources including a range of articles, tools and calculators to support your colleagues
- a selection of money guides in print, Braille or audio formats, free to commercial businesses
- help for people going through redundancy and related pensions support
- pensions guidance to help your employees plan for retirement and later life
- our annual Talk Money Week awareness campaign, which reaches millions of people each November, and provides a platform to have a conversation about money between families and friends, at work or in any other walk of life.
Employers can play a key role in helping us reach people across the region. Workers who have their finances under control are more productive and healthier. And the benefits of financial wellness can be felt all throughout our communities.
Supporting financial wellbeing in Yorkshire and the Humber
MaPS wants to work at a regional level in partnership with organisations across Yorkshire and the Humber. These stakeholders could be employers, charities or trade union
If you have an interest in improving financial wellbeing in your region, we want to hear from you. This could mean MaPS joining existing networks and forums, or perhaps even creating new ones.
Whatever industry you’re from, I’m here to help, so do get in touch.
Jenny lives in Sheffield. Before joining MaPS, she spent two decades working in the financial services sector and a further seven years in frontline service delivery for leading third sector organisations. A qualified financial adviser, Jenny is keen to help organisations build financial capability for their clients and employees. Contact Jenny to see what she can do for your business on firstname.lastname@example.org.