West Lancashire Borough Council wants to help its tenants manage their finances and gain access to services to help with money and debt advice, and so is consulting on how best to do this.
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) found that tenants in social housing are more affected by financial exclusion.
This means that they have difficulty accessing financial services which would help them to pay bills, set money aside for difficulties and replace costly items such as the fridge/washing machine. They may find it harder to plan for the future and issues such as not having a bank account can make it difficult to access cheaper loans, or to benefit from online deals like cheaper utility bills. This can then mean some tenants may have to use high interest credit or even loan sharks.
The Council is currently consulting on a draft Council Tenants’ Financial Inclusion Strategy which will help us to focus on our most vulnerable and financially excluded tenants to support them to manage their money. The strategy will help to ensure that those affected receive the right advice and support to retain their home and quality of life, without experiencing severe financial hardship.
Key aims of the strategy include:
Councillor Jennifer Patterson, portfolio holder for Housing, said: “Having money problems can cause stress and depression for people as they will feel worried about how they are going to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads.
“The Council already helps tenants through its Money Advice Service, but this strategy will enable the Council to offer a much wider range of support to help improve people’s lives. So please take part in this consultation and help make sure the strategy meets the needs of local people.”
The draft Financial Inclusion Strategy is primarily targeted towards Council housing tenants, but many of the actions recommended and improvements proposed will have more wide-reaching effects and positive outcomes for all West Lancashire residents.
The consultation on the draft strategy ends on 31 October 2015. Comments will then be reviewed, and where appropriate the strategy will be amended. To access the draft strategy please visit your views and click on ‘Consultations underway’.