Two million off the financial mains, says commission

Image caption,
Unmanageable debt is one reason that people find themselves without an account

Nearly two million adults in the UK do not have a bank account leaving them disconnected from "the financial mains", according to a report.

Those excluded from a bank account face extra costs of £1,300 a year and less choice of good and services, the Financial Inclusion Commission found.

About two-thirds of those currently without accounts had one in the past.

But many of those had run into debt problems or had a bad experience with a bank and their accounts were closed.

The commission has recommended that a financial health minister be appointed.

It also raised concerns that people had insufficient savings to deal with a financial shock.


The commission, which includes politicians, representatives from the financial sector and charities, aimed to raise awareness of financial exclusion ahead of the general election.

It found that the move to digital banking could leave some people further excluded from the financial world.

It said that fewer than half of British households were saving. Some 13 million people in the UK did not have enough savings to support them for a month if they had a 25% cut in income, it added.

High-cost borrowing and the use of illegal money lenders had grown, the commission found.

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, chairman of the commission, said: "Our vision is for everyone to enjoy decent financial health in the UK.

"That means every adult is connected to the banking system, has access to affordable credit, is encouraged to save, has the right insurance at the right price, and access to objective financial services advice."

A spokesman for debt charity StepChange said: "There is a pressing need to provide better protections for people who fall into debt, and better incentives and mechanisms to help people save and build up financial resilience."

A Treasury spokesman said: "We have taken a number of steps to tackle financial exclusion, including securing a landmark deal with the big banks on providing basic bank accounts for the most financially excluded, and committing £38m to help credit unions grow as an alternative source of affordable credit for hard working people."

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