FCA gives examples of good practice as it opens vulnerable customers consultation

Whilst not proposing any new rules at this stage, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is consulting on proposed guidance regarding treatment of vulnerable customers. The consultation paper gives some examples of good practice the FCA has seen from firms in this area.
Firms should consider whether there is anything they can do to identify the likely vulnerabilities amongst their customer base. For example, they may be able to obtain data showing how many customers fall into the younger or older age groups, or how many have income below a certain level. Examining the complaints the firm receives to identify where vulnerabilities may have been overlooked is another option.

A vulnerable customer may be more likely to enter into an unsuitable financial commitment. For example, this means that a customer may seek to take out a loan when it is not appropriate for them, so it becomes vital that the lender carries out a rigorous assessment of the customer’s circumstances before approving the application.

Lenders will ask about a customer’s income and will assess their credit record before approving a loan, but it may also be appropriate to ask whether the declared income is guaranteed, or whether they are on a zero-hours contract or receive much of their income from non-guaranteed overtime and/or bonuses.

The proposed guidance asks firms to consider whether it may be appropriate to signpost a customer to suitable support services. As an example, some lenders and credit brokers have a policy of making customers aware of support organisations such as the Money and Pensions Service whenever:
• A loan application is declined
• The stated purpose of the loan is debt consolidation
• There is evidence of recent missed payments or defaults

Many firms have a sales process that is completed online and need to be conscious of the need to provide detailed guidance to their less tech-savvy customers regarding the steps they need to take. In this case, it may also be appropriate to read out key information to the customer rather than simply directing them to online information.

Other vulnerable customers may need extra time to consider whether a product is appropriate for them.

Keeping appropriate records is vital when handling vulnerable customers. A customer might disclose a vulnerability to one member of staff, but will later deal with a different staff member, and may get frustrated if they have to explain their circumstances again. On becoming aware of a possible vulnerability, the staff member should ask the customer’s permission to record the information, whilst explaining that having the information on file could allow the firm to assist them in future.

Vulnerable customers may be uncomfortable with one particular method of communication, for example they may not feel confident speaking on the phone or may lack the written skills to compose a letter or email, so ideally firms should offer a range of ways in which customers can contact them.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


MAPS chairman speaks about his organisation’s pensions work

No one needs any reminder that the number of elderly people in the UK is increasing rapidly. Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) chairman Sir Hector Sants chose the Finance UK Later Life Lending conference in July 2019 to explain the work his organisation is doing to provide guidance to older people.

After producing some statistics about the ageing UK population, Sir Hector commented on the wealth differences amongst the older generation. The average person aged 65 and over has £45,000 in cash savings, and around half of this generation own a property valued at £250,000 or more. 43% of the UK’s housing wealth is held by over 65s, yet although some people regard the older generation as being well off, not everyone is enjoying a prosperous later life. Sir Hector said that one in five pensioners had £1,000 or less in savings, and a similar proportion did not own their home.

The next section of the speech addressed the topic of care provision. As the number of older people increases, so does the need for long-term care. However, Sir Hector said that less than 30% of over 65s have a financial plan regarding what they would do if they fell ill.

Despite the relative wealth of the older generation when compared to younger age groups, many older people do not feel comfortable managing their finances. 24% of older people in retirement do not feel confident in this area and 19% say they get anxious over money worries.
Sir Hector said that firms did not need to assume that all older customers were vulnerable customers. However, he did say that older people are more likely to display some of the characteristics of vulnerability, such as poor health, bereavement and disability. He also commented that older people are more likely to fall victim to scams and may sometimes feel excluded from the modern financial world due to their lack of confidence when using technology.

The MAPS chair then suggested authorised financial services firms should focus on ‘customer wellbeing’ as well as treating customers fairly. All customers should be seen as potentially vulnerable and firms should seek to have ‘customer wellbeing’ ingrained in their corporate culture.

Sir Hector said that his organisation’s ideas to address the issues faced by older people was for older people to have some form of ‘later life review’ or a ‘financial MOT’. This review could examine issues such as planning for long-term care needs and considering whether it was appropriate for older people to release equity in their homes.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


FCA chair speaks at Public Meeting on the changing world of finance

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chairman Charles Randell focussed on how his organisation was changing and adapting to a rapidly changing world when he addressed the regulator’s Public Meeting in July 2019.

Mr Randell first spoke of the conversations he has had with consumers, firms and politicians throughout the UK, and spoke of “the very central role financial services play in consumers’ everyday lives.”

He then referred to the publication of the FCA’s Mission document in 2017 and said this marked “a new phase” in financial regulation. He then explained how the Mission led to a renewed focus on consumer outcomes, by saying:
“The Mission reaffirmed consumer harm as the guiding principle of all our work, helping us prioritise in the face of a growing remit and an evolving demographic and economic landscape. In this context, we have been thinking about how we can meet our growing responsibilities with finite resources – how we can deliver the maximum public value. Part of this is reflecting on our past performance and considering what we can do differently to best deliver on our objectives.”

Mr Randell acknowledged that one of the most pressing issues was how the FCA addressed issues at the boundary of its remit, and some of the most well publicised issues in recent months have related to whether the FCA could and should have taken action, or whether the activities in question were in fact non-regulated.

The FCA chairman said he was concerned by “low levels of financial resilience, financial literacy and savings” amongst some consumer groups. He recognised that disadvantaged consumers were increasingly looking to the FCA to protect their interests, and commented:
“In this next phase of the FCA, our focus will be on transforming our capabilities, our use of technology and our regulatory framework to put us in the best position to deliver our objectives. In an uncertain, fast-changing world, the public look to us to provide more protection to consumers, and to provide it faster.”

Much of the FCA’s May 2019 Business Plan addressed the future of regulation, and the regulator said its long-term priorities included:
• Examining what the regulatory framework of the future might look like
• Ensuring innovation and the use of data work in consumers’ interests
• Looking at issues posed by the different requirements of different generations

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


FCA chief speaks at Public Meeting on how he serves the public interest

Andrew Bailey faced criticism on several fronts when he appeared at the July 2019 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Public Meeting. The regulator’s chief executive has come under fire over his organisation’s handling of a mini-bond firm’s collapse, its perceived inaction against the re-structuring division of a major bank and its supervision of a prominent fund manager.

Aside from this, he chose his Public Meeting speech to highlight how the FCA seeks to serve the public interest.

Mr Bailey began by mentioning Brexit, and said that:
“Our priority has been to ensure that, whatever the time or manner in which [Brexit] occurs, consumers are protected, and markets are prepared as far as possible – so we’ve been undertaking contingency planning for the full range of outcomes.”
He added that the FCA had 320 staff who were, in some way, involved in preparing for the UK’s exit from the European Union. Earlier in the year, when an exit date in March was on the cards, some 450 staff were working in this area.
Three of the FCA’s recent priorities include high-cost credit, pensions and the culture of firms, and he had something to say about all of these at the Public Meeting.

Regarding consumer credit, Mr Bailey made reference to the new cap on rent-to-own pricing and said that this measure was saving consumers £23 million per year. He added that the previous price cap – on payday and other short-term lending – was already saving the UK population £150 million per year.

Turning to pensions, the FCA chief executive commented on the ‘investment pathways’ model the regulator is developing. These pathways are designed to assist consumers who do not take formal financial advice to make the right decisions on how to access their retirement savings. Mr Bailey also spoke of his continued desire to improve the suitability of advice given by firms on transfers out of occupational schemes.
Regarding organisational culture, Mr Bailey said that, come December 9, all authorised firms will be subject to the Senior Managers & Certification Regime, and that this will create “clear lines of accountability between a decision made and the senior manager who made it.” He also said of the culture within authorised firms:
“It is a central consideration for our supervisors, who look at drivers of behaviour, staff incentives and governance arrangements in their day-to-day interactions with firms.”

Additionally, on this subject he spelt out that simply following the FCA’s rules to the letter may not always deliver good consumer outcomes, and that sometimes firms need to think about how their actions will affect their customers. His comments here were:
“Any organisation that prioritises being within the rules over doing the right thing will not stand up to scrutiny for long.”

Mr Bailey then made it clear that the FCA is prepared to take action against firms and individuals who do not act in customers’ interests and observed that his organisation took enforcement action against 265 firms in the most recent financial year. This included 16 financial penalties totalling £227.3 million.

The next area where Mr Bailey suggested that he had secured better protection for consumers was the extension of the Financial Ombudsman Service’s jurisdiction. The independent complaints adjudication body can now award compensation of up to £350,000 per case and it can now consider a wider range of complaints made by small and medium sized enterprises.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


FSCS gives hope to customers of failed mini-bond firm

Initially it seemed as if the customers of a failed mini-bond firm would not have recourse to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), and that they would need to register as creditors with the firm’s administrators – in these circumstances they may have received only 20% of the compensation they were due.

However, the FSCS has given hope to some of the 11,625 investors who collectively invested £237,207,497 in 16,706 mini-bonds. This is because, although the mini-bonds themselves are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), giving financial advice is a regulated activity, so those investors who received advice on taking out a mini-bond may still receive the full amount of compensation from the FSCS.

The FSCS has carried out a review of call recordings and emails to investors and now believes that a third-party firm, acting on behalf of the mini-bond firm, provided misleading advice to a number of customers. The third-party firm is not regulated by the FCA but was acting on behalf of the regulated mini-bond firm, so the mini-bond firm has liability for this advice.

The FSCS has requested that investors complete a pre-application questionnaire so that it can assess the extent to which advice was provided.

Promotional material from the mini-bond firm is reported to have promised returns of up to 11%. These promotions also stated that the product was a low risk investment and falsely claimed that it qualified as an Individual Savings Account (ISA). Concerns have also been expressed that the promotions prominently stated that the firm was regulated by the FCA, without also stating that mini-bonds were not a regulated product.

The investors’ funds were invested in 12 firms, but only two of these were independent of the mini-bond firm – of the other 10, many were controlled by people also involved in the mini-bond firm. A hotel development in the Dominican Republic and the refurbishment of a leisure park in Cornwall are some of the projects that the mini-bonds invested in.

An FCA statement on this issue reads:
“Our concerns are mainly about the unsustainability of its business model, as it appeared that coupon (interest) payments to existing investors were being funded by new bond issuances. Also, we considered that not all the corporate borrowers to which [NAME OF FIRM] made loans were unlikely to be able to support the rates of return that [NAME OF FIRM] advertised.

“Finally, we had concerns that a number of the corporate borrowers had close connections with the individuals who ran [NAME OF FIRM].”

The Government is investigating the circumstances of the collapse of the firm, along with whether the FCA supervised the firm effectively. Former Appeal Court judge Dame Elizabeth Gloster, who specialises in corporate failures, finance and fraud, is leading this enquiry.

Meanwhile, the Treasury is looking at future regulation of mini-bonds and 12 MPs have called on FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey to resign over his organisation’s handling of the matter.

The firm is also being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, and at least five arrests have been made so far.

John Glen MP, the economic secretary to the Treasury, said:

“We urgently need to get to the bottom of the circumstances around the collapse of [NAME OF FIRM].

“Dame Elizabeth will bring her vast experience and rigour to this important investigation, which will help ensure this type of thing doesn’t happen again.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


ICO Annual Report looks back on an ‘unprecedented’ year

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published its Annual Report for the 12 months to March 31 2019, and the data protection regulator has described that period as “unprecedented”. 2018/19 saw the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the accompanying UK Data Protection Act 2018. In the same period there have been a number of high-profile data protection news stories, and the general public are perhaps more aware of data protection issues than ever before.

Data protection complaints received by the ICO almost doubled from 21,019 in 2017/18 to 41,661 in 2018/19. 2018/19 was also a record year when we look at the fines imposed by the watchdog on companies and other organisations that failed to comply with relevant data protection law. 23 monetary penalties were issued for breaches of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation, totalling over £2million, and that’s before we also consider fines imposed as a result of breaches of the UK’s previous Data Protection Act – here the total of the 22 fines topped £3 million. Some of the largest fines under the 1998 Act concerned failures in cyber security. In partnership with the Insolvency Service, a number of directors were disqualified from holding senior positions as they were held personally responsible for data protection breaches within their own organisations.

One of the key changes that the ICO emphasises in the report is the need for organisations to carry out risk management of their data protection activities. They now need to identify the potential risks that are caused by their use of data, and then need to consider now they can reduce, mitigate or eliminate those risks.

While the public may now be more aware of data issues and more willing to complain if they perceive that their data has not been handled effectively, there was some good news for firms and other organisations from an annual ICO survey. Research carried out in July 2018 showed that one in three (34%) people have “high trust and confidence” in companies and organisations that hold their personal information, and this figure was significantly higher than the 21% figure from 2017. The 2019 survey is now under way.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said:

“The ICO has covered an enormous amount of ground over the last year – from the introduction of a new data protection law, to our calls to change the freedom of information law, from record-setting fines to a record number of people raising data protection concerns.

“The biggest moment of the year was the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force. This saw people wake up to the potential of their personal data, leading to greater awareness of the role of the regulator when their data rights aren’t being respected. The doubling of concerns raised with our office reflects that.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


FCA chief speaks on inter-generational differences

A lot has been said recently about the different generations in the UK being polarised, whether this relates to their levels of wealth, their lifestyle or their views about Brexit and other political issues.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) held a Conference on Intergenerational Differences in early July 2019. Opening the conference, chief executive Andrew Bailey described “the forces shaping the inter-generational issues” as the FCA’s most important long-term issue. He also called on the financial services industry to change and adapt to the changing needs of different generations.

Mr Bailey first mentioned some of the challenges faced by the younger generation: they have higher debt, even when student loans are discounted; and they are struggling to get on the property ladder, and even when they can do this, they may have to take the mortgage over a very long term and will thus still be repaying their mortgages in later life. They now also pay, on average, around five times their annual salary to purchase a property, when 25 years ago they only needed to spend 2.4 times their salary.

Turning to the pensions arena, the FCA chief remarked that, over time, the responsibility for saving for retirement had largely been transferred from employers and the state to individuals. He also noted that nominal and real interest rates had been low in recent years, and that this had increased the cost of saving for retirement.

Summarising, he said that the traditional life model was fast disappearing. This model involved purchasing a property as a young adult, paying off this mortgage well before retirement and then retiring at a fixed age and receiving a fixed income level for the remainder of their life. Mr Bailey remarked that, for the first time since the Second World War, the younger generation is now less well off than the previous generation.

Turning to consumer credit, the FCA chief commented that growth in the market was largely driven by increases in the volume of car finance debt and 0% finance debt amongst people with higher credit score. Speaking of the need to adapt to changing circumstances, Mr Bailey said on this subject:

“Prolonged low-cost borrowing, unstable income and limited savings creates new consumption patterns and financial services need to adapt to changing consumer profiles.”

Mr Bailey concluded by explaining the FCA’s role in addressing inter-generational differences, and also said any suggestions from his audience on how to address these issues would be welcome. His closing remarks were:

“As a regulator, we are here to serve the public interest. We aim to ensure financial markets work well for UK consumers. This includes enabling them to adapt to changing societal needs.

“Finally, I would like to encourage you to share your ideas with us and each other during the course of today, to keep this debate moving and find ways to turn debate into action.

“For our part we’ll be taking stock of what we hear today and the responses that we get to the Discussion Paper. That will help us determine the work we take forward to and make sure we’re taking the right approach on issues that play such a significant part in shaping people’s lives.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


FCA Annual Report focuses on consumer outcomes

‘Ensuring good consumer outcomes’ is the theme that runs through the new FCA annual report.

The report also emphasises the rollout of SM&CR to all firms from December 9 2019 and states that the finalised rules for this have already been issued.

Linked to the idea of good consumer outcomes is the FCA’s continued emphasis on firms’ culture, and here FCA speakers have repeatedly urged firms to ensure they ‘do the right thing’ even where there is no specific FCA rule or principle. The FCA’s four drivers of culture are:

• Purpose
• Leadership
• Approach to rewarding and managing people – here the FCA has recently conducted a number of studies looking at whether the existence of commission payments encourage firms to act in a way that is contrary to customers’ interests
• Governance (including systems & controls and oversight of the business)

The FCA says:

“Our aim is to transform culture in financial services firms, so that firms cause less harm to consumers, businesses and the real economy.”

Besides the culture and governance of authorised firms, the report says that the FCA’s cross-sector priorities for the next 12 months are:

• Financial crime, including money laundering and scams
• Data security, resilience and outsourcing, including whether firms have measures in place to protect against a cyber-attack or other service disruption, and whether they also have adequate plans for responding to a service disruption. The FCA received 229 reports of incidents in 2017/18, of which 44 were cyber-related, and these figures rose to 916 and 152 respectively in 2018/19 but the FCA suggests this large increase was primarily due to firms becoming more aware of the regulator’s expectations
• Innovation and technology – whether greater use of technology is increasing the risks of fraud and misuse of data
• Treatment of existing customers – here the FCA says “existing customers should not be disadvantaged by receiving poorer service or paying higher charges”
• Long-term pension and savings issues and inter-generational differences

Regarding high-cost credit, the report makes mention of the rent-to-own price cap, measures taken to reform the overdraft market and restrictions on repeat borrowing in the home credit sector. There is no indication in the report however of whether the FCA will look to introduce price caps in other sectors in the next 12 months.

The FCA then repeats its assertion that some lenders are making profits by lending irresponsibly and are using unaffordable lending to subsidise those who repay on time. Re-iterating the focus on culture and consumer outcomes, the report says that FCA supervisory work in this area will look at whether lending decisions are leading to good customer outcomes.

The credit section of the report does not provide any new guidance, but does once again refer firms to Policy Statement 18/19, particularly with regard to:

• The distinction between affordability and credit risk
• Ensuring that credit assessments are proportionate
• The role of information about consumers’ income and expenditure
• The need for clear and effective policies and procedures

Debt managers are warned that some firms need to display “significant improvement”. The FCA is particularly concerned about firms’ identification and treatment of vulnerable customers and the quality of advice given to customers who seek advice together, such as couples.

In the retail investment section of the report, the FCA highlights that complex investments, pension transfers and disclosure of fees and charges will remain an area of priority.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


FCA director speaks on the regulator’s pension priorities

The pensions market is attracting a lot of publicity, and a lot of regulatory scrutiny of late. Edwin Schooling Latter, Director of Markets and Wholesale Policy at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) set out the regulator’s current pension priorities when he addressed the Pensions and Benefits UK conference. His speech was entitled ‘A changing landscape’, indicating that firms need to make sure they are aware of any regulatory changes and how they need to change their practices as a result.

He began by outlining the size of the current pensions market, with the FCA being responsible for regulatory supervision of firms that collectively hold £667 billion of assets in pension funds on behalf of 25 million people. There are also 7.2 million annuities currently in payment and close to one million drawdown plan holders.

Directly addressing the ‘change’ theme of the speech, Mr Schooling Latter said:

• In 1997 one-sixth of the UK population were aged 65 or over, but by 2017 it was one-fifth and the proportion is expected to reach one quarter by 2037
• The first state pensions were paid from age 70, and on average this meant they would be paid for nine years, but now those reaching age 65 are expected to live for a further 20 years on average
• People around retirement age have significantly more pension wealth compared to people who were at the same age 10 years ago
• Those born between 1966 and 2000 often face difficulties in saving for retirement, against competing priorities such as saving for a house deposit and repaying debts. This generation are also more likely to be in insecure employment
• Almost 40% of individuals of working age have no private pension wealth at all, a figure that would have been considerably lower a generation ago
• Other major changes are sometimes introduced by the Government, such as the gradual roll-out of auto-enrolment into company pensions and the introduction of the pension freedoms. It is estimated that the number of defined contribution workplace schemes will rise by a factor of five between 2015 and 2030
• Annuity sales fell by more than 80% between 2014 and 2017

The FCA director then said there were five main areas of focus for his organisation at present, which are:

• Defined benefit (final salary) transfers
• Investment pathways
• Scams
• Value for money
• The overall customer journey

Mr Schooling Latter re-iterated a message that the regulator has given on numerous occasions, namely that most transfers out of defined benefit schemes will not be suitable, and that the FCA is concerned by advice standards in this area. Here he commented:

“DB pensions, and other safeguarded benefits providing guaranteed pension income, give valuable benefits. Most consumers will be best advised to keep them. Advisers should start from the position that a transfer is not suitable. It is deeply concerning and disappointing to see that transfers are still being recommended at the levels we have seen.

“Pension transfer advice for transfers out of DB schemes therefore continues to be an area of intense focus for us. We continue to be particularly concerned that too much unsuitable advice is being given. Our supervisors are already visiting firms where these concerns are highest.”

The FCA director added that the regulator was still considering a ban on contingent charging arrangements, where advisers would only receive a fee if the transfer went ahead.

The FCA carries out investment pathways work as it is concerned that large numbers of people don’t receive advice when navigating the increasingly complex matter of how to access retirement savings. The regulator has therefore proposed new rules on investment pathways that firms offering drawdown must offer to unadvised consumers and has also proposed banning firms from automatically placing pension investments into cash funds.

Mr Schooling Latter then highlighted that the FCA will be repeating its ScamSmart campaign on TV, radio and online in the second half of 2019, designed to stop people losing their retirement funds to criminals.

In explaining how the FCA tries to ensure value for money for pension customers, he then mentioned the charge cap on default funds and the rules the FCA has introduced regarding disclosure of charges.

In conclusion, the FCA director spoke in broader terms of how he hoped to improve the customer journey. On this topic he commented:

“We will undertake a strategic review of the entire consumer pensions journey – taking an in-depth look at what tools are needed to enable people to make good decisions about their pensions.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


Money & Pensions Service publishes regional data on indebtedness levels

The Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) has published the results of its Over-Indebtedness survey for 2018, which shows how personal debt levels vary between different parts of the UK. In previous years, this survey was carried out by the Money Advice Service which is one of the three organisations that merged to form MAPS.

“Over-indebted” individuals are defined as those who are likely to find meeting monthly bills a heavy burden and/or those missing more than two bill payments within a six-month period.
The headline piece of data is that 8,990,000 UK adults are over-indebted to some extent. This figure represents 17.2% (around one-sixth) of the total number of adults.

England is the only one of the four nations of the UK where the proportion of over-indebted adults is higher than the UK average. In England, 17.6% are over-indebted, while the equivalent figure for Northern Ireland is 16.2%, for Wales it is 15.5% and for Scotland it is 14.2%.

When England is broken down into regions, London is easily the most over-indebted region, with 22.5% of its adults meeting the definition of being over-indebted. The West Midlands, with 18.7%, and the East Midlands, at 18%, rank second and third on this list. The English regions with the lowest score are the South East and the East, both at 15.3%.

In Wales, the council areas ranking highest for over-indebtedness are Cardiff (17.6%), Merthyr Tydfil (17.3) and Torfaen (17.2%). The areas ranking lowest are Monmouthshire (12.1%), Vale of Glamorgan (13.6%) and Neath Port Talbot (14.7%).

The Welsh data is also broken down by parliamentary constituency. Here the biggest debt problems are in Cardiff South and Penarth (18.2%), then the next highest results are for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (17.4%) and Blaenau Gwent (16.8%). The lowest level of indebtedness is the 14% seen in Vale of Glamorgan, closely followed by Neath, Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Clwyd West.

The Scottish data is broken down by Scottish Parliament constituency. The most over-indebted constituency is Aberdeen Central, at 18.5%, while the Glasgow areas of Southside and Kelvin also score more than 18%. The constituency of Eastwood, near Glasgow, has indebtedness of just 9.8%, with the next best figures coming from Strathkelvin and Bearsden (11.2%) and Edinburgh Western (11.7%).

In the 2017 survey, 15.9% of UK adults were over-indebted, so the 17.2% figure for 2018 represents a slight increase. The over-indebtedness figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all fell between 2017 and 2018 though, while in England the figure rose by 1.8%.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article

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