Being poor is not just about being unable to afford those ‘nice to have’ things - it’s being forced to pay more for the absolute essentials, such as gas, electricity, banking, household goods and even groceries simply because you are living in poverty. It’s called the ‘poverty premium’ and it is effectively a tax on the poor.
If you live in poverty in this country, you’re more unlikely to have a bank account. And if you don’t have a bank account, you can’t get a direct debit discount for many of your everyday services and utilities. Is that fair? We don’t think so.
There is consensus in the UK that financial exclusion is a major problem. After years of branch closures, and post-crisis pressure to tighten lending standards, high street banks are increasingly withdrawing from lower-income communities and marginal businesses – leaving many individuals, businesses and charities unable to access appropriate and affordable financial services.