Managing your money is easier to do if you are financially included. Financial inclusion means having access to financial services, products, advice and support which can help you to manage your money on a daily basis, plan for the future and avoid financial crisis.
Being financially excluded can make it more difficult to plan for the future and cope with crises such as long term sickness, unemployment or family breakdown. It could also mean paying more for everyday items such as utility costs and credit.
Our work to promote financial inclusion focuses on:
- Maximising income and responding to welfare reform
- Supporting people to manage their money, reduce harmful debt and prevent homelessness
- Helping people to train, gain and remain in employment
- Promoting affordable credit options
- Reducing fuel poverty, increasing financial resilience and promoting access to bank accounts
Maximising income and responding to welfare reform, including help to get online
The rising cost of living, the impact of welfare reform, and a large under claim of benefits mean that it is more important for people to claim all of the benefits that they are entitled to, to maximise their income. Maximising income through benefit take-up not only helps to boost income for vulnerable households, but also helps to benefit the local economy by increasing the amount of money available to be spent in the local area.
To find out more about benefits advice and information, visit our welfare rights and money advice section
Upcoming changes to welfare benefits mean that many residents will need to make benefit claims online. To find out more about where computer and internet access, advice and training is available in Newcastle, visit our Get Online Newcastle map.
If you are a professional or volunteer and want to know more about benefit take-up and the different support available, please refer to our page Information for professionals and volunteers page.
Supporting people to manage their money, reduce harmful debt and prevent homelessness
Debt problems can lead to stress, depression, time off work and have been cited as a major cause of relationship breakdown. If you are worried about debt don’t ignore problems – there are people who can help. To find out more about the different support available visit our debt and money advice page.
If you need housing advice, or are at risk of homelessness or are homeless due to debt, visit our what to do if you need housing advice or are homeless section for details of organisations who can help.
Budgeting is an important part of managing your money. There is help available to do this, some of which is listed below.
- The Money Advice Service – provide free, independent and unbiased advice to help you to plan a budget, save and make the most of your money. You can also chat online to one of their advisors.
- My Money Steps – has an online budgeting tool which provides your own tailored step by step action plan to manage your money.
- Budgeting information sheet (pdf,289 kb) – a Newcastle City Council information sheet which gives ways for you to try to reduce your costs.
Helping people to train, gain and remain in employment
If you are interested in finding out more about employment opportunities, Newcastle Futures offer a free confidential service to help unemployed residents of Newcastle to find and access job and training opportunities. To find out more visit the Newcastle Futures website or phone 0800 5870478 or 0191 230 2970.
If you are a professional or volunteer and want to know more about employment, please refer to our employment support toolkit (pdf, 98kb)
Promoting affordable credit options
We want to help you to make good decisions about the best way to borrow money. We know that the credit options offered by high street banks may not be an option for everyone. This can mean that people who want a loan turn to door step lenders, pay day loan companies or other high cost credit. Some people may also turn to illegal money lenders (or loan sharks) who will charge even higher rates of interest.
Illegal money lenders, or loan sharks, are unlicensed traders who operate outside of the law. They often target vulnerable people, charging extortionate rates of interest. Borrowers will not be protected by any form of contract, terms or conditions and non- payment could lead to threats, violence or the taking of valuable items, such as passports or cash cards for security.
Loan sharks can sometimes frighten people by saying they will be prosecuted or even sent to prison of they don’t repay their loans. This cannot happen; an unauthorised lender has no legal right to recover the debt.
If you, or someone you know, are involved with a loan shark, help is available. To report a loan shark phone the 24 hour confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222, email email@example.com or visit the gov.uk website for more information.
We want to prevent you from turning to high interest or dangerous credit sources by promoting affordable credit options, such as credit unions.
Our Borrow wisely leaflet (pdf, 178kb) provides information about the different affordable credit options in Newcastle and opportunities to save. You can also visit Northern Money's website. The main credit union in Newcastle is Moneywise credit union. To find out more about the different products they offer, or how to start a savings account, visit Moneywise credit union's website or phone 0191 276 7963.
If you are a professional or volunteer and want to know more about affordable credit providers in Newcastle, please refer to our Access to affordable credit toolkit (pdf, 71kb) and Illegal money lending toolkit (pdf, 80kb)
Reducing fuel poverty, increasing financial resilience and promoting access to bank accounts
Living in cold homes can damage people’s health and affect their quality of life. If you are worried about your electricity and gas bills and want some energy saving or energy debt advice, visit our energy advice for residents page, phone Energy Services on 0191 278 3427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It can be cheaper to pay for utility costs, such as energy, by direct debit. If you are a professional or volunteer and want to find out more about bank accounts please refer to our access to bank accounts. (pdf, 90kb)
Other help if you are worried about money
Here are some possible ways you can get help if you are worried about money or have urgent one-off needs.
- Charities- There are many charities that can help people with one-off or regular payments. For example, see the websites Charity Choice and Turn2Us.
- Free school meals- If you are struggling to make ends meet and have school children in your family, you might also be eligible for free school meals. For more information, visit our free school meals page.
- Foodbanks- If you are in need of free food, you can find out about foodbank venues on the information leaflet on the Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service (NCVS) website.
- Help with housing costs- If you are receiving Housing Benefit and are finding it difficult to pay your rent, you can apply for extra help through the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme (pdf, 229kb). For more information, visit our Discretionary Housing Payments page.
- Crisis Support Scheme- If you are in need of food, clothing, fuel for heating or expenses for emergency travel to cover short term period of crisis or disaster you can apply for help through the Crisis Support Scheme.
For more information, visit our Crisis Support Scheme page.
- Supporting Independence Scheme-Support workers can apply to the Supporting Independence Scheme on behalf of clients on a low income for basic household items that would enable them to resettle or remain in the community or prevent homelessness. For more information, visit our help to move or furnish your home (Supporting Independence Scheme) page.
We also have a leaflet which provides information about who can help if you have money worries. You can access our 'Are you worried about money?' leaflet here (pdf 167kb)
For information on help with short term needs and one-off payments under the benefits system, visit our benefits information page.
If you are a professional or volunteer, there is more information to support you on our information for professionals and volunteers page.