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Financial wellbeing in the West Midlands

The West Midlands is a large and diverse region with a rich manufacturing history and much to be proud of economically. Outside of London, the region ranks number one in the UK for exports, job creation and foreign business investment.

Dawn is regional partnerships manager for the West Midlands. She has extensive experience of working with stakeholders and partnerships across a range of sectors. Contact Dawn to get support for your organisation.

Around 90% of working people in the West Midlands live and work in the local economy, so looking after people’s financial wellbeing is good for business. Our regional partnership manager Dawn Cummins explores how the Money and Pensions Service can help your organisation to do just that.

It is also home to some of the biggest and strategically important businesses in the UK, including Jaguar Land Rover, Cadbury, Bosch and JCB. Advanced manufacturing and engineering are at the heart of the current economic boom, with creative industries and life sciences fast growing sectors that have the potential to drive further growth and increase skills and productivity in the workforce.

What is financial wellbeing?

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) can help employers to grow the financial wellbeing of your workforce. We have been set up by government to provide free and impartial money and pensions guidance, and supporting employers and employees is a key strand of our approach to help people to make the most of their money and feel financially secure.

Financial wellbeing is about feeling secure and in control. It is about making the most of your money day to day, dealing with the unexpected, and being on track for a healthy financial future. In short: financially resilient, confident and empowered.

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

Financial challenges in the West Midlands

Despite significant growth, investment and an increase in jobs, many people still find it a struggle to meet ends meet.

Challenges in the region include:

  • The second highest level of unemployment benefit claimants in England, with young people disproportionately affected (Department for Work and Pensions, December 2020).
  • A decrease of 74,000 jobs in the year to June 2020 (Birmingham Economic Review, 2020).
  • Over a third of areas in the West Midlands listed among the most deprived in the country (West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute Partnership (WMREDI), 2020).
  • An increase in the number of people with no qualifications to 11% (WMREDI, 2020).
  • Resident wages below the national average. (WMREDI, 2020).

Impact of coronavirus on the West Midlands economy

During the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the West Midlands was the worst hit area of the UK economically according to the Office for National Statistics. During the second quarter of 2020, the region recorded a 21% drop in output compared to an 18.8% fall in GDP country-wide. This was on top of the biggest regional fall of 4.7% in the first three months of the year. Add to this the joint highest take up rate of the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) in England, and an 89% increase in young benefit claimants, and you start to paint a picture of a fractured economy.

At the Money and Pensions Service we can provide communities and businesses with the tools and information they need to support financial wellbeing at this difficult time. Our Coronavirus Hub pulls together tools, articles and resources on a range of financial issues, including our Money Navigator Tool, built specifically to support people with money worries during the pandemic.

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)