What is the issue?
From 2013-2017, the Financial Inclusion Monitoring Reports from the Universities of Birmingham/Lincoln kept financial inclusion on the agenda at a time when the topic was achieving much less prominence than hitherto. Most importantly, the reports maintained a reliable source of data on different aspects of financial inclusion after the Treasury (through its Financial Inclusion Taskforce) stopped producing and supporting research on financial inclusion, including research on the number of people unbanked. Their research in this field has shown that progress on reducing the number of unbanked people has stalled and there are still significant levels of financial exclusion in relation to affordable credit, problem debt, savings and pensions. Their research has also been quoted by a range of more recently-active bodies including the Financial Inclusion Commission and the House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion. The data, and the lobbying it has enabled, contributed to the establishment of a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Pensions and Financial Exclusion, Mr Guy Opperman MP. It is therefore a crucial time to continue this work, to ensure there is a reliable set of data on which to drive policy change, and also measure the impact of any such change.
What will the project try to achieve?
Drawning on Kempson and Collard  for their definition of financial inclusion, they argue that a financially inclusive society would be one in which everyone had the ability to:
- manage day-to-day financial transactions (e.g. through appropriate bank accounts)
- meet one-off expenses (both predictable expenses through savings, and unpredictable expenses also through savings and/or appropriate credit and insurance products)
- manage a loss of earned income (e.g. through savings, including pension savings)
- avoid/reduce problem debt
Based on this they will monitor 10 key indicators as follows:
- Employment levels and types
- The state of the national economy
- Subjective financial wellbeing
- Bank accounts
- Problem debt
The project will produce an online annual ‘state of the nation’ report on financial inclusion. This will be in two formats: an executive summary which clearly states the headline statistics on financial inclusion, together with a series of infographics. There will be one infographic for each of the 10 indicators plus a summary infographic. They will also produce an annual video (no more than 5 minutes long) to report on the state of financial inclusion.
 Kempson, E and Collard, S (2012) Developing a vision for financial inclusion, London: Friends Provident Foundation
Who might be interested in this project?
Policy makers, campaigners and anyone with an interest in social justice and equality