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Led by the Centre for Responsible Credit and Well Thought, and co-created with residents and national housing associations, a new approach has been developed.
At its simplest, rent-flex offers a new way for residents to plan and pay their rent, however, at the core of rent-flex is a ‘joint planning’ framework with potential to transform the landlord – resident relationship
Residents are offered personalised rent payment plans: providing them with the opportunity to pay less rent in months when money is tight, and slightly more when things are that little bit easier.
In exchange, residents engage with support services and keep their housing provider informed of their financial situation so any extra help required can be provided.
Funded by Impact on Urban Health, the project forms part of their wider programme to improve outcomes for people with multiple long-term health conditions.
Financial Shield will be tested with up to 2,000 people in Lambeth and Southwark through to September 2022. Led by the Centre for Responsible Credit, the pilot brings Primary Care Networks, social prescribing teams, and creditors together with advice and community based support agencies to provide a holistic response to people’s financial and health support needs. You can find out more about the members of our Financial Shield partnership here.
Today we are providing free consultancy and strategic support for the We are Debt Advisers campaign which is focused on stopping proposed cuts to face to face debt advice services and improving the debt solutions available to people in financial difficulty.
We are also working with Jubilee Debt Campaign to bring the voices of debtors themselves into policy making as well as to campaign for a write-down of unjust debts.
Aside from our campaigning activities, we are the innovators behind rent-flex and Financial Shield, and provide high quality research, evaluation, and consultancy services to improve lending practices and the support available for people in debt.
CfRC is established as an independently directed unit within the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion and we start work campaigning for caps on the total cost of credit.
Our campaign hits Parliament - Payday lenders: the need for urgent action - Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK's progressive debate.
Following a study tour to Japan, we report on their successful interest rate caps and other measures to tackle irresponsible lending (Download Report here). The report is referred to in Parliament and is influential in gaining cross-party support for our campaign. This leads to the Financial Conduct Authority being provided with the power to cap prices in the Financial Services Act.
We draft a Private Member's Bill concerning high cost credit for Paul Blomfield MP & work with Stella Creasy MP and Lord Sharkey to ensure an amendment is put to the Banking Reform Bill. This seeks to compel the Financial Conduct Authority to use its powers to cap the total cost that payday lenders can charge. The amendment looks set to pass in the Lords and forces a Government U-turn. On 25th November, the Chancellor George Osborne, confirms a total cost of credit cap will be brought in.
The Financial Conduct Authority publishes plans to cap the total cost of interest, fees and charges on payday loans at 100% of the amount borrowed. These come into effect the following year. Subsequent evaluations indicate that this saves payday lending borrowers £150 million per year.
With funding from Barrow Cadbury Trust, we undertake and publish a review of local welfare schemes in England.
Our report for the TUC reveals how British household debt burdens are unsustainable, and calls for a review of debt advice and insolvency solutions. (Download Report here). The report calls for a better measure of indebtedness which takes into account the impact of rising living costs.
The Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion merges with NIACE to become the Learning & Work Institute. CfRC continues as an independently directed unit within Learning & Work.
With funding from JP Morgan Charitable Foundation we also publish a review of services seeking to improve the financial health of low-income households. This highlights the need for greater flexibility with household bill payments.
We begin work on a small rent flexibility pilot with Optivo Housing Association tenants.
We also refresh our work on local welfare schemes, highlighting huge cuts in the level of support and call for greater investment in services to prevent people from falling into debt.
We start campaigning for a cap on the prices being charged by Rent-to-Own lenders.
With funding from the Money and Pensions Service we evaluate the findings from the initial rent flexibility pilot, and start to seek funding for larger scale, digital, trials.
Working with the University of Brighton, we scope out the Reshaping Financial Support Project for the Local Government Association.
The FCA introduces a cap on the prices being charged by Rent-to-Own lenders.
CfRC leaves the Learning and Work Institute and establishes itself as an independent not for profit company.
We conduct a social impact assessment for the not for profit lender, Fair for You, which identifies benefits of over £5 million. The report is hailed as setting a new standard for social impact reporting for the sector by Fair4All Finance.
We begin to develop the FlexMyRent digital platform and start a trial with Optivo tenants.
With funding from Impact on Urban Health we scope out and start to deliver the Financial Shield project to improve support for people with long-term health conditions and money worries.
JP Morgan Charitable Foundation agrees funding to support two further FlexMyRent trials.
CfRC helps to establish the We are Debt Advisers Campaign and raises concerns about proposed Money and Pension's Service cuts to face-to-face debt advice services.
We are commissioned by Fair4All Finance to evaluate their Covid-19 Resilience Fund for the affordable credit sector.