Financial education works
A project funded by Santander in partnership with Citizens Advice and the University of Bristol provided social housing tenants with guidance and advice on how to manage their finances through one to one and group training sessions.
As a result of the training, 78% of participants changed their spending behaviour, making the average household £10 a week better off.
With the average household in the study having an income of £200 per week, this is the equivalent of a 5% increase in income.
The findings indicate that if similar training were offered to all 4.6 million social housing households in the UK, the collective benefit could be as much as £36 million per week.
The project also led to tenants in the study either starting to save money each week (12%), or increasing the amount they saved (10%). On average, these participants saved an additional £11 per week.
This is particularly significant when considering that the median annual income in social housing stands at £10,900 compared to the national figure of £23,320.
If such a result was replicated across the UK, it could lead to an overall increase in saving of £579 million per year for all families in social housing.
Jaime Graham, director at Santander, said: “This project clearly shows the importance of financial education and the difference it can make to households on lower incomes.
“A comparison of the participants’ views before and after the project found that 71% of them were more financially confident as a result of the sessions. The tools and knowledge gained from the training will help them organise and manage their household budgets more effectively, equipping them with money skills for life.
“This research provides valuable learning for those organisations involved in financial education, including the government, the financial services sector and charities. We hope that the findings will be helpful in developing new training programmes, particularly those aimed at supporting people living on low incomes.”
Santander provides grants to local charities aimed at helping disadvantaged people improve their financial awareness, partners with leading national charities to fund programmes which provide money advice for young people, and supports financial capability in the secondary and further education sectors.