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Lottery launches financial inclusion fund

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A £30m National Lottery fund has been set up to help people who are financially excluded manage their money better and avoid getting into debt.

The Improving Financial Confidence programme will focus on people living in social housing and target 69 local authority areas which research has found have the highest levels of financial exclusion.

Working in partnership with social housing providers and voluntary groups across England, the project aims to help people manage their money better by giving them the skills and confidence to choose and access the financial services that best suit their needs.

Grants of between £500,000 and £1m will be available for three to five year projects. The Big Lottery Fund, which distributes money from the National Lottery to good causes, is managing the scheme.

Sanjay Dighe, chair of the Big Lottery Fund’s England committee said: “The current period of economic stress has highlighted the divide between those who have access to a range of financial products, services and good quality advice, and those who are financially excluded.

“Many people are unable to access or use basic financial services and products such as bank accounts, contents insurance, credit cards or affordable loans and instead fall into a trap of using high cost doorstep lenders, getting themselves into a debt spiral.

“This can make it difficult for people to manage their money, cope with financial pressures and plan for the future. It can also mean that everyday things such as household bills become more expensive.”

The programme will focus on supporting social housing tenants who are moving in and out of work, are in their first year of a tenancy or who are young.

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