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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

CfRC responds to FCA proposals to cap rent-to-own firms

November 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

The Centre for Responsible Credit ('CfRC') has welcomed today’s announcement from the Financial Conduct Authority ('FCA') that it intends to cap the cost of credit in the rent-to-own sector. However, we warn that the FCA’s proposals as they currently stand - although a small step in the right direction - will fail to deliver a fair deal for low income borrowers, and must be [...]

Wonga collapse: CfRC calls for Treasury Committee to launch an inquiry

September 4th, 2018|0 Comments

The payday lender Wonga has collapsed under the weight of claims for rebates and/or compensation from its borrowers arising from the firm’s failure to ensure that people could afford to make repayments prior to making loans. The failure to conduct adequate affordability checks breached the Office of Fair Trading’s (‘OFT’) ‘Irresponsible Lending Guidance’ which was put in place in 2010 and the Financial Conduct [...]

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Redesigning financial services and support

25th April 2018

Resource for London, Holloway Road, N7 6PA

Following the launch of Michael Sheen’s End High Cost Credit Alliance, we invite you to join CfRC and Toynbee Hall’s Financial Health Exchange to critically assess the latest developments in credit markets and discuss possible new models of support for low to middle income households. We are delighted to announce that Michael will be attending the event, and that our excellent speakers will also include Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s Director of Strategy and Competition.

The conference will present the emerging findings from our current research programme which:

  • Supports Michael Sheen’s End High Cost Credit Alliance to expand the provision of affordable financial services;
  • Scopes out possible new models of support with the Local Government Association and ten local authorities to better integrate welfare benefit and local discretionary payments with debt advice and financial inclusion activity;
  • Explores the use of flexible rent payments as a means of helping low income tenants to manage income and expenditure pressures without the need for them to use credit;
  • Builds on the lessons from the Finance Innovation Lab’s Financial Health Fellowship to create an effective Community of Practice for people seeking to develop socially responsible products and services;
  • Develops the case for extending the payday lending cap to all forms of consumer credit and to eradicate ‘unjust debt’.

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