Commuters on tube platform

Financial wellbeing in London

Even before the COVID–19 pandemic, the capital struggled with some enduring challenges to widespread financial wellbeing.

Our partnerships managers in London

Our partnerships managers want to remove the stigma attached to talking about money to provide impartial guidance to employers, local authorities, community groups, business groups and others. Monica Kaur (East London) and Victoria Copeland (West London) share the key personal finance challenges facing the residents in the capital, and how your organisation can build financial wellbeing for your customers, colleagues and community. 

Monica’s role is to work closely with organisations from the private, public, voluntary/third sectors in East London to support their strategies by accessing free Money and Pension Service resources. To help your organisation improve employee financial wellbeing contact Monica.

 

Victoria’s main focus as a partnerships manager is to understand financial wellbeing needs in West London and how she can support them. If you’re a business owner or third-sector organisation in West London seeking impartial guidance, contact Victoria.

Financial wellness challenges in London

According to the debt charity StepChange, Londoners – regardless of where they live in the city – are more at risk of problem debt than the UK average. The charity estimates over half a million Londoners are in problem debt (that is when someone becomes unable to pay their debts or other household bills).

Financial wellbeing challenges in London aren’t just about low incomes, however. The cost of living in London is very high and the City’s average weekly household spending is the highest in the UK – over £650 per week, compared to £457 in North-East England. (ONS, 2019)

Businesses and organisations should always keep this fact in mind:

"Financial wellbeing is not just an issue for people on low incomes. Higher earners can experience significant challenges managing their money as well."

MaPS was established by the government to improve the financial wellbeing and education in every region and nation in the UK. We are leading the implementation of The UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing over the next decade.

We offer a wide array of free support to businesses, specifically tailored to each unique region and nation of the UK. If your organisation or head office is London-based, you can contact us for support.

Want to help employees manage their finances better? Embed our tools and calculators for free.

The impact of coronavirus in London

Think of London and perhaps the first thing that springs to mind is high finance or politics. But the city is also home to an enormous retail, hospitality and tourism market. It’s also a varied environment, including industries that flourish in central London and in the outer boroughs.

In London’s outer boroughs alone, over 7% of residents work in “tourism characteristic industries” according to the ONS, reflecting the focus on passenger transport as this is the location of Heathrow Airport.

It’s these industries that were among the hardest hit by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. London was at the forefront of the pandemic’s direct impact in the UK in March and April 2020.

Have you been forced to make redundancies or might need to? The Money and Pensions Service has various support for people going through redundancyOpens in a new window and related pensions helpOpens in a new window to support employees.

The economic consequences of COVID-19 continue to unfold:

  • The number of people claiming unemployment benefits increased by 2.5 times between January and May, compared to a UK average of 2.1 times.
  • Advertised job vacancies were down 56% in July compared to their pre-crisis level, much like the rest of the country.

The economic recovery in London has been uneven. Different parts and sectors of the city are recovering at different rates. Data on take-up of the government Job Retention Scheme confirm London’s resilience in professional and financial services, where remote working has enabled operation through the crisis.

Londoners and regional commuters have been avoiding public transport, so with 82% of commutes into the city centre usually made on public transport, a great deal of pre-crisis activity remains suppressed.

The viral outbreak has created some incidental benefits, however. Some spending has shifted to secondary town centres. Some smaller town centres such as Southall or East Ham have seen increases in transactions, while larger town centres have seen smaller decreases than in central London. So far London’s recovery looks suburban.

How MaPS can help your organisation

We offer a wide array of free support to businesses including:

Over the decade, the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing is aiming to help people gain more confidence to manage their money. The vision is for everyone to make the most of their money and pensions in the short, medium and long term.

Read our UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing 2020-2030Opens in a new window (PDF, 7MB)