Cost of living crisis: Data shows Manchester’s financial health


Greater Manchester constituencies have higher scores on the Financial Vulnerability Index than the UK and North West averages.

Households are struggling with high levels of inflation and soaring bills as part of the cost of living crisis – and new data shows how far Greater Manchester constituencies are doing.

Manchester has seen above-average levels of financial vulnerability since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020 and it has only slightly decreased, according to data experts.

And there are fears that the use of credit will rise sharply in the North West as households try to cope with everything that becomes more expensive.

What is the Financial Vulnerability Index?

The FVI measures a region’s residents’ vulnerability to financial problems and it uses six items to measure this.

This is the percentage of people in an area who are in default, claiming benefits, have high-cost loans, lack emergency savings, and rely on alternative financial products such as loans. on salary.

The sixth measure considered is the average use of credit among residents to determine how dependent they are on it.

Each parliamentary constituency then obtains an overall score between 0 and 100. The higher the score, the more the inhabitants of a territory are financially vulnerable.

The index is a joint project between credit management services company Lowell and the Urban Institute, a US-based research organization,

It is based on anonymised data from approximately 9.5 million Lowell UK customer accounts and other publicly available data sources.

What does the index show for Greater Manchester?

The latest FVI figures show Greater Manchester constituencies are significantly more vulnerable than average.

The UK’s average score is 43.1 and the North West’s is 49.1.

But the latest index gave Blackley and Broughton a score of 60.9, with around 60% of adults in the constituency without emergency savings and more than a quarter in default.

Manchester Gorton has an index of 58.1 and Wythenshawe and Sale East had a Financial Vulnerability Index of 56.9, while Bolton South East it was 56 and Oldham West and Royton it was 55.7 .

At Salford and Eccles it was 53.5, while at Manchester Central it was 53.3.

The latest published figures from the index also show that Manchester has been experiencing above average levels of financial vulnerability since the second quarter of 2020, and since then it has fallen by just 3.1 points.

And like residents of the North West as a whole, credit use in Manchester is increasing as bills rise, with the average credit use in the city reaching 51.9%.

What does the index show for the UK as a whole?

The latest index updates show that across the UK households are resorting to credit as inflation means daily necessities now cost more. Credit usage in the last quarter was the highest since the start of 2020.

Rising interest rates have also done nothing to deter the most financially vulnerable residents from borrowing, which the index creators say proves that for the poorest consumers, having to borrow money is a necessity and not a choice.

There is better news, however, as financial vulnerability in the UK has declined overall since the last index update, which experts say is mainly due to the fall in the share of adults claiming social benefits.

Payday loans across the UK also continued to decline.

What about the latest numbers?

John Pears, UK CEO of Lowell, said: “The cost of living is rising across the board and hitting north west towns like Manchester hard.

“Households have to shell out more money to pay for essentials like food and bills. With the rising cost of living pushing budgets to their limits, people are increasingly turning to credit.

“For many now, a single income shock can be enough to push a household into debt. People need help to cut costs.

“The new government must take steps to ensure that households, especially those on the lowest incomes, receive the support they need.

“With the recent changes to the price cap, reducing energy bills must be the priority. This must be at the top of the agenda.

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