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Missions

Stop The Squeeze

We want to help UK households, particularly those classed as vulnerable, withstand the rising cost of living post-COVID and Brexit. By providing data on financial wellbeing and resilience, we will help the government and industry take real actions to help people on the poverty line survive and thrive.

The Challenge

British families are starting to feel the effects of the worst cost of living crisis for 30 years, especially those with the lowest household incomes.

The cost of basic food items, clothes, heating the home are all significantly more today than a few years ago.  The Resolution Foundation predicts higher energy bills, stagnant wages and tax rises could leave households with a £1,200 a year hit to their incomes in 2022.

Women taking over laptop

Help where it’s needed – Government, charities and businesses are all in a position to help through cheaper, more accessible and more efficient products and services. But they often lack access to the right data and consumer insights to make the right choices and make sure they’re making a difference to peoples’ lives with appropriate solutions.

Meeting the Challenge

We’re creating a safe data vault – the National Data Utility. Through our extensive data partnerships, we have access to an increasing amount of real-time private income and expenditure data so that we can provide timely, actionable insights to government, charities and industry.

We share this with our partners across consumer groups, charities, industry and others so they can act quickly and effectively to provide help where it is most needed.

Our purpose is to improve people’s lives by safely unlocking the potential of financial data
Kevin Collins - Interim CEO of Smart Data Foundry

The UK’s first national Poverty Premium index

The Poverty Premium is the extra costs people on low incomes and in poverty pay for essential products and services. We’re working with Virgin Money and Fair By Design to use household financial data and industry data to create a representative measure to show who is facing the issue and by how much.

We share the ambition of Virgin Money that none of their customers should be paying the Poverty Premium by 2030. This index will give a much better understanding of where policy needs to change and where urgent interventions are needed.

Financial Vulnerability in Later Life

Financially vulnerable older workers are largely ignored by existing pension research, and the outlook for their long-term wellbeing in retirement is poor. The economic disruption from COVID-19 adds further urgency to understand more about this.

Smart Data Foundry has joined forces with abrdn Financial Fairness Trust to carry out research into this, using financial data, UK wide focus groups and interviews to examine financial distress among financially vulnerable older workers. This research will determine how people aged 55 and over were financially impacted by COVID.

A report into the study will be published in the summer of 2022. It will provide insights into how people in retirement can be better supported, particularly as more people are now delaying retirement.

Help us with this Mission

Get in touch with mia.dowman@ed.ac.uk to find out how you can help us on this mission

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