Current Research Programmes

Building Financially Healthy Lives and Communities

We want to ensure that all British households lead financially healthy lives.  This requires us to think about how they can be assisted to meet their day to day costs and also build up savings and plan positively for their future. We know that too many households are struggling financially, and that these are often geographically concentrated.  Even with very careful money management, the combination of low pay, [...]

Getting Britain Out of Debt

We believe that over-indebtedness is receiving insufficient policy attention.  Not only does it have major human and social costs, but the debt burden is negatively impacting on our economic performance. The extent to which debt poses a burden on households is contingent on three factors: (i) the amount of debt that is outstanding; (ii) the cost of that debt, in terms of interest, fees and minimum payment [...]

Improving Credit Regulation

Inadequate regulation of credit markets has created all three of the major economic crises experienced in Britain since 1970. The removal of direct Government controls over lending and the replacement of these with the 'Competition and Control' system of regulation in 1971 lay behind the Heath Government's 'dash to growth'.  It relied on credit markets being controlled only through the manipulation of interest rates by the Bank of [...]

Latest News

Britain in the Red | The household debt burden is unsustainable

August 19th, 2016|0 Comments

We have now published our final report for the joint TUC and Unison commissioned ‘Britain in the Red’ project.  The project has been looking at available aggregate and household survey data to track the household debt burden: particularly assessing the economic impacts of consumer credit borrowing and commenting on the types of household that are most affected. The debt burden is at an all time [...]

Notes on the FCA’s credit card review

August 1st, 2016|0 Comments

Last week saw the Financial Conduct Authority ('FCA') publish the final findings from its credit card market study.  This revealed that: Around two million cardholders were in arrears or had defaulted on their payments; A further two million people had persistent levels of debt, which they were likely to be struggling to repay; and A further 1.6 million people were making only minimum repayments and [...]

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cogsCfRC Annual Conference | ‘Building a Financially Healthy Society’

19th September 2016 | Mercure St. Paul’s Hotel, Sheffield

This year’s CfRC conference will reflect on the financial health of Britain today, and develop practical policy proposals and programme responses designed to meet the challenges that we face at both the national and local levels.

Building on our ‘Britain in the Red’ project for the TUC, we will examine the economic risks of excessive household debt levels and consider whether our current debt advice and insolvency ‘system’ is capable of addressing this.

The conference will also report on a major project to determine how we can practically support lower income groups to improve their financial health and will provide a superb opportunity to develop a radical agenda for change.

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Britain in the Red | Final Report

August 2016

We have now published our final report for the TUC and Unison commissioned ‘Britain in the Red’ project.  This has been analysing aggregate and household survey data to assess the impact of the rising consumer credit debt burden for households in recent years.  The report indicates that approximately £25 billion in consumer credit interest payments are being made by households each year, which is equivalent to 1.4% of GDP, and that 3.2 million households are over-indebted (paying out more than 25% of their gross income to their creditors).  Our current debt advice and insolvency system is not an adequate response to this level of household indebtedness and urgently needs to be reviewed.

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Latest posts

Britain in the Red | The household debt burden is unsustainable

August 19th, 2016|0 Comments

We have now published our final report for the joint TUC and Unison commissioned ‘Britain in the Red’ project.  The project has been looking at available aggregate and household survey data to track the household [...]

Notes on the FCA’s credit card review

August 1st, 2016|0 Comments

Last week saw the Financial Conduct Authority ('FCA') publish the final findings from its credit card market study.  This revealed that: Around two million cardholders were in arrears or had defaulted on their payments; A [...]

Facing up to the ‘Brexit effect’: would a further base rate cut help?

July 2nd, 2016|0 Comments

Following the 'Brexit vote' there has been an increase in speculation that this week's Monetary Policy Committee meeting will vote to cut the Bank of England base rates by 25 basis points to 0.25%. A [...]

BRITAIN’S PERSONAL DEBT CRISIS | How we got here and what to do about it.

Damon Gibbons | 1 Jul 2014

In Britain’s Personal Debt Crisis, CfRC Director Damon Gibbons, provides an assessment of how, over a period of 40 years, we have come to be over-reliant on financial services, and credit in particular.   Our basic needs – for affordable homes, for education, decent jobs, and dignity in old age – are all now contingent on our ability to access financial services.  But the way in which these are provided is highly regressive and is contributing to growing wealth inequality.  Credit expansion has also contributed to our economic decline, paved the way for attacks on the welfare state, and fed the growth of a highly individualistic and unsustainable consumer culture.

Whilst charting these developments, the book also outlines a programme for national renewal, including measures to  bring credit back under control and restore the financial sector to servants of government economic policy.

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“Damon’s book provides a timely insight into the power of personal debt to not just make life a daily struggle of the public but do long term damage to the future our country. He matches detailed analysis with a passionate call for action that many will find compelling”

Stella Creasy MP

”Damon Gibbons has campaigned  over many years for fair lending at a reasonable price to low income households.  From doorstep lending to payday loans he has challenged established ideas and  called for a cap on costs – a policy now endorsed by the Government.”

Paul Lewis, journalist and broadcaster

Damon  is one of those rare people who is able to combine a social policy researchers’  attention to detail with a campaigners’ zeal and passion to make change  happen.  The fact that he has managed to sustain this work for more than a  decade, even when it has often meant swimming against the prevailing opinion of  the times, is remarkable.  Not only that, his analysis of the problems and  solutions to Britain’s personal debt crisis is always insightful, and almost  always right!”

Niall  Cooper, Director, Church  Action on Poverty

”This is a timely analysis of the growth in personal debt and a passionate plea for action. Few people understand the working of credit markets better than Damon and his proposals for effective regulation deserve serious attention.”

Paul Blomfield MP