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Equality objective: financial inclusion

Business Plan/Service Plan priority 

To be a top performing landlord – develop a financial inclusion strategy 


This objective has been identified as the key area of concern for many if not most of the authority’s tenants.  WLBC has committed to its role as landlord for around 7,000 households across the borough and needs to ensure that they receive the right advice and support to retain their home, and quality of life, without experiencing disproportionate financial pressure.

Many tenants, particularly those living on low income, cannot access mainstream financial products such as bank accounts and low cost loans. They are more likely to use the alternative credit market and pay higher levels of interest, exposing them to financial and social exclusion.  This is being exacerbated by the impact of the recession and welfare reform and there is evidence of increased use of illegal money lenders.

Equality objective

To support the development of the financial inclusion strategy and the role of the financial inclusion officer by:

  • understanding how tenants might be particularly vulnerable because of one or more of their personal characteristics and planning support to meet these specific needs, including debt and budgeting advice
  • specialised support to benefit claimants with complex needs and identifying cases where specific arrangements need to be in place 
  • integrating equality analysis into the Local Support Services Framework for universal credit (and other welfare reform)
  • using different communication and delivery channels to meet the specific needs of tenants, including digital inclusion  

Equality information

The existing Welfare Reform Action Plan provides a wealth of activity that is on-going in terms of analysing and reviewing its impact on tenants of the authority.  Customer insight data is increasingly being used to model approaches and to target interventions.  There is now an opportunity to overlay equality analysis to determine how, for example, age, gender and disability affect how tenants engage with support and implement personal changes.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published a document regarding the Local Support Services Framework for Universal Credit  and within this provides for extended forms of support for those with more complex requirements. The DWP suggests that more complex requirements may relate to people with mental health needs, learning disabilities or drug and alcohol issues or who are homeless.  The document also refers to support for people with literacy problems.

Data available for analysis includes:

  • QL IT system
  • BTLS benefit analysis
  •  Customer insight profiles
  •  DWP statistics
  • Qualitative and quantitative support from Lancashire Community Finance and other community finance organisations such as credit unions
  • Job Centre Plus data on crisis and budgeting loans


  • only half of men and 42% of women in social housing are in paid work compared with 80% of those with a mortgage4
  • women’s median hourly pay is 21% lower than that of men4
  •  the economic position of young people outside education continue to decline4
  • employment rates for disabled people are less than half of those of non-disabled people and the gap is widening4
  • 22% of the population live below the low-income threshold – this rises significantly in areas of economic deprivation5
  • around a third of all disabled adults are living in low-income households5
  • half of all people in social housing are in low-income households5
  • children are more likely to live in low-income households than adults5
  • two-fifths of people from ethnic minorities live in low-income households5

The 2011 census for West Lancashire shows that:

  • 32% of West Lancashire’s working age population were economically inactive 
  • 17% of the working age population were retired, a much higher rate than that of England
  • More than 3 500 residents of the borough’s working age population are classified as inactive due to long term sickness or disability
  • 7% of those aged 16-24 are unemployed as opposed to less than 2% of those aged over 50 of working age

In terms of benefit claimants6

  • 14.2% of the working-age population claim out of work benefits
  • those aged 18-24 are most likely to be claiming Job Seekers Allowance but those aged 25-49 are most likely to have been claiming for more than 12 months

4. Report of the National Equality Panel, Government Equalities Office, January 2010

5. Poverty.org ( external link) (accessed 2 June 2013)

6. NOMIS, Labour Market Profile, West Lancashire 2012