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Financial skills training helps social tenants be better off

Citizens Advice website (link opens in a new window)Citizens Advice has recently published the results of a survey of 150 social housing tenants which shows how the tenants could be £10 per week better off as a result of having one-to-one financial skills training given by their landlords.

'Quids in: The impact of financial skills training for social housing tenants' is the result of an in-depth financial skills training research project, carried out in partnership with the University of Bristol and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CiH) and funded by Santander. Orbit Heart of England (OHE) social housing tenants from Rugby and Stratford volunteered for the free financial skills training sessions delivered between June 2011 and March 2012 by Bedworth, Rugby and Nuneaton Citizens Advice bureaux (BRANCAB).

Participants

Participants of the training, which took part over a nine month period, consisted of:

  • 70% women.
  • 38% people aged 25-45
  • 39% individuals aged 45 or over.
  • 66% living in households where there was no earned income
  • 52% living in households with an income of less than £200 per week.

Positive changes

As well as 71% of tenant learners reporting higher financial confidence as a result of the training (compared to just 13% of a comparison group), other positive changes reported by the majority of tenant learners included:

  • 78% had changed how they manage their money since the training, compared with only 36 per cent of the comparison group
  • Tenant learners who changed their saving behaviour saved, on average, an extra £11 per week
  • 13% had either opened or switched bank account, or opened a credit union account, compared with three per cent of the comparison group
  • 18% planned to open a credit union account, while none of the comparison group had any such plans.

Before-and-after surveys showed that tenants who took part, compared with a group of Orbit Heart of England social housing tenants who lived in areas where the training wasn't offered, were more likely to improve their financial skills, gain financial confidence and access appropriate financial products.

Comment from Citizens Advice Chief Executive

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice, said:

"We hope that these results, and the best practice that came out of the project delivery, will encourage housing providers to work together in partnership with the Citizens Advice service nationally and locally. This will be particularly beneficial to tenants at a time when tenant finances are coming under increasing pressure with welfare reforms and the economic downturn."

Sources: Citizens Advice (link opens in a new window) and The Independent (link opens in a new window)  

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