Gender equality seems as far away in 2018 as it felt to the chain makers and suffragettes who fought for rights for women over 100 years ago, stuck in low pay that impacted the welbeing of their whole household.
In modern Britain, just as then, we largely entrust the care of our children, our weak, our sick, our elderly and our vulnerable to the women in our communities. This limits their earning potential, with decent part time jobs that work around the household being rarer than hens teeth. Especially ones that are not minimum wage, or flexible hour contracts. So they are poorer for the lives they have to live.
What is unfair is that at every turn they are then penalised and punished for being poor – it’s called the poverty premium.
Take Michelle’s story……
“Getting our first council home we literally had nothing.
We had a rented flat, but everything belonged to the landlord. The flat was covered in mould and our 9 month old son needed emergency open heart surgery after being born with a large vsd (hole in the heart). We had to move, he was always getting poorly from the mold and Great Osmond Street told the council if they didn’t move us our little boy Thomas would die.
We turned to Bright house for help. We had no savings to kit out a whole kitchen. Our little boy had the surgery he needed, but at home I was struggling with the washing machine, which was a pre-owned item. It didn’t smell right, kept breaking down!
So I had to carry all the laundry to the launderette. Not only was I paying for a broken washing machine, I was spending more money to wash the clothes at the launderette every week.
We waited for months for them to finally swap it, but it was for just another pre-owned … All in all I’ve spent £1000 on a washing machine that I’ve hardly even used.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse I finally paid up for it and 2 weeks later it breaks down.
Never have I felt so let down and stupid.”
In millions of households across the UK, high cost credit is a major part of the poverty premium. I don’t know who came up with term of Just About Managing, in my experience, there are few JAMs and more NORMALs – Not Really Managing At All!
Money is extracted from these households by high cost lenders, that see the vulnerable urgently needing a washing machine or fridge freezer as an opportunity to sell high cost or poorly structured credit. This solves the emergency, but sees a disproportionate amount paid to the credit company. These companies operate in many forms of high cost credit, including doorstep lending, payday lending, sub-prime credit cards, mail order, short term credit and rent to own.
In our social impact reporting we found that customers saw the health and welbeing of the entire household improved by being able to access well designed, structured, supportive, visible and affordable credit when they needed it.
“I can’t think of anything bad to say, I think this company is amazing. I applied for a cooker on Wednesday and it was delivered on Friday. From start to finish took two days, they kept me informed at all times via email & text payments & prices are also very good. And I also think it’s very good that you can choose your own time to pay back and you choose what day is best for you.” –Kelly, Trust Pilot review Feb 2018
This week we are shortlisted for another award, Entrepreneur of the Year, at the Women in Credit Awards. I am an accidental entrepreneur – I didn’t intend to set up a new, innovative lending business to take on the global giants that lead the high cost credit sector in the UK.
But here at Fair for You we are all passionate about more fairness for the millions of homemakers in the UK that have to work long hours for low pay, and have to juggle food and grocery costs to pay for essential items that every home needs.
The poverty premium is simply the result of the greed of those businesses to take a higher fee from those who most need credit to purchase essential items. It’s not equal, it’s not fair, and now that we have built Fair for You – it’s not necessary.
Follow our story at www.fairforyou.co.uk/blog