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Customer Data Protection Research Facility


(Socio-Economic) Helping consumers with the cost-of-living crisis and businesses to thrive in the current economic environment

We want to help UK households and UK small businesses withstand the rising cost of living and the increasing cost of doing business in the current economic environment. ​

By providing data on financial wellbeing and resilience, we will assist the government and industry to take real action to help people on the poverty line survive and small businesses to thrive.​

The Challenge​

A data-driven response to help vulnerable families

British families have been feeling the effects of the worst cost-of-living crisis for 30 years, especially those with the lowest household incomes.​

Using data to help UK small businesses​

The energy crisis and the cost of living is impacting UK small businesses – the backbone of the economy, employing over 16 million people and accounting for around half of the UK’s private sector turnover.​

It is our mission to develop new data-driven insights and provide support for hard-hitting research to help shape policy and inform regulation that will help consumers and businesses.

Meeting the Challenge​

Financial Vulnerability in Later Life​

We joined forces with abrdn Financial Fairness Trust and the University of Edinburgh to carry out research into this issue.​

Using deidentified NatWest financial data, UK-wide focus groups and interviews, the research examined financial distress among financially vulnerable older workers. This research looked into how people aged 55 and over were financially impacted by COVID.​

The research showed that over-50s, especially those aged 50-54, were being hit particularly hard and could face a lifetime of financial insecurity.

Impact of late payment on small businesses​

The Small Business Commissioner, Liz Barclay, asked Smart Data Foundry to help understand the impact on small businesses of late payment for goods and services.​

We partnered with Sage who shared deidentified data on 110,000 micro and small businesses and 58 million sales invoices over the period 2010–2021. ​

The research revealed that the problem of late invoice payments to micro and small businesses (which include freelancers, sole traders and micro firms as well as small businesses) has significantly improved over the last ten years, falling by over 50%.​

But don’t be fooled – over the period 2020-21, 40% of invoices were paid late to UK businesses like these.

The work Smart Data Foundry is leading with Sage Group will shine a light on the value SMEs deliver to the UK economy and on issues such as late and slow payments, which need to be rectified if they are to reach their full potential. We can use data-led research to innovate and build resilience into the sector.
Liz Barclay - Small Business Commissioner

Collaborate with our Socio-Economic Mission

Contact Martin Nel to explore how we can work together.