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, insecure [...]


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 England, [...]

Latest News

The FCA is guilty of ‘regulatory failure’. Politicians must act to protect low income credit card borrowers

July 9th, 2019|0 Comments

A new report, published jointly by CfRC, New Economics Foundation, Jubilee Debt Campaign and Research for Action today, shows that the FCA are failing to adequately protect consumers from high interest costs on credit cards, and calls for a cap on the total cost of charges that borrowers pay. The report includes new analysis of the Bank of England's Household Debt Survey for 2018, [...]

How Rent-flex works: case study three, engaging tenants and providing a savings vehicle

May 16th, 2019|0 Comments

A 50 year old female single parent with a teenage daughter was housed by Optivo following the end of an abusive relationship and a period of homelessness. She had successfully completed her training to become a nurse but had not yet secured a job, and when she was contacted about the Rent-flex scheme in September 2017 she was using money she had previously put [...]

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Building a better financial services system

26th March 2020

Broadway House, London

The CfRC will be celebrating its tenth anniversary conference in 2020. The conference reaches out across traditional divides, bringing together the financial services sector with local authorities, the social housing sector, not for profit affordable credit providers, FinTechs, and debt and community-based advice agencies.

This year’s conference will examine the systemic problems which make credit so much more expensive for people on lower incomes. Sessions will focus on the role of credit data sharing and scoring; the role of money guidance and debt advice services in improving financial outcomes and behaviours; and the opportunities to develop more affordable, and effective, financial services to meet the needs of lower income households.

As well as reviewing the effectiveness of recent policy and regulatory efforts to improve the operation of consumer credit markets and the help available to people in debt, we will also be showcasing the latest developments in our exciting Rent-flex trials, which we are taking forwards with Optivo, One Manchester and Metropolitan Housing Assocations. And we will be highlighting a new project, with Jubilee Debt Campaign, which aims to organise groups of debtors so that these have a more direct input into policymaking.

Join us on 26 March 2020 for what promises to be a fantastic 10th anniversary event.

The Decline of Local Welfare Schemes in England

September 2017

Local welfare provision in England is at risk of collapsing if Government does not urgently review its approach and step in with more funding for local authorities.  A failure to act will create widespread destitution, and put even greater pressure on already over-stretched housing, health, and social care services.  Those are the key messages from our latest research, which has been funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust and which involved an assessment of Cabinet and Committee papers detailing current budgets for local welfare schemes and the reasons for cuts.  From this exercise we were able to obtain information about current funding levels for schemes in around 70 percent of English local authorities.  We also conducted interviews with eighteen people who have directly affected by the closure of schemes in Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, and Oxfordshire.


Latest posts

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.


“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