Money Talks: How can we tackle financial exclusion?

Money Talks: How can we tackle financial exclusion?

Last Tuesday, a small group of academics, church leaders and practitioners met together to discuss the topic of financial exclusion. But what does financial exclusion really mean? As a policy issue, it covers a web of interlocking issues that can feel overwhelming and hard to pin down.

Through this event we wanted to deepen our understanding of the issues involved, their causes and consequences, and what can be done about them.

We kicked off the day with Paul Jones, lead of the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion at Liverpool John Moores University. He spoke about how financial inclusion is actually more about social inclusion - it’s more about people feeling a full part of society than having a few pounds off their electricity bill. That’s why it’s so important. Matt Padley of Loughborough University then gave a brief response to Paul's talk.

You can listen to Paul and Matt's talks here and also download Paul's slides here.

We then heard from David Clough, Prof of Theological Ethics at Chester University, who argued that theology can help us to reframe important questions and remind us why they require a response. Taking us through a Biblical and historical Christian approach to wealth and property, he argued that there is only one true owner of anything – God – and that it is our responsibility to use what he gives us for the benefit of all.

You can listen to David’s talk here and download his handout here.

This event was organised by Church Urban Fund and Edinburgh University Divinity School. It is the third of four events, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, that will bring people from different disciplines and sectors to talk about poverty issues.

In the afternoon, we heard from three local projects that address various aspects of financial exclusion.

  • St Andrew’s Community Network is a charity that is committed to responding to the needs of its community and providing good quality services to improve people’s lives. Kevin Peacock, St Andrew’s CEO, shared with us their experience of running debt advice services and other programmes related to money management. His slides are here.
  • Tracey Fletcher, CEO of Partners Credit Union then talked to us about the importance of credit unions and the particular services that her credit union offers to people in Merseyside. Her slides are here.
  • And finally, Julia Webster, Liverpool coordinator of the Church Credit Champions Network, spoke to us about her work to enable churches to support local credit unions and campaign against the exploitative practices of payday lenders and others. Her slides are here.

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who joined us on the day, it was so encouraging to hear about the fantastic work going on.

If you weren’t able to be there on the day, but have any comments on the content here, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. Please email Bethany Eckley or call 020 7898 1141.

Author: Bethany Eckley

Date: 30 September 2015