Financial Inclusion

Financial exclusion is the lack of access to mainstream and affordable financial services and is linked to other forms of exclusion, disadvantage and deprivation.

Lack of access to affordable financial services and persistent debt means that it is very difficult to break the cycle of poverty. Financial inclusion is having the access, knowledge and capability to use mainstream financial services, manage money and alleviate poverty.

Along with partners, the Financial Inclusion Team works on research and evidence led initiatives to help tackle poverty and strengthen the financial resilience of residents and communities in the city. In Leeds the public, private and third sector have been working in partnership since 2003 to promote financial inclusion through the Financial Inclusion Steering Group.

As a result, key projects and initiatives have included widening access to money advice services, assisting people to maximise their incomes and manage their debts; tackling high cost lenders and illegal loan sharks, providing affordable credit options and supporting Leeds Credit Union; preparing for impacts of welfare reform and improving support for problem gambling.

Available research

2018: Financial Exclusion and Poverty - Historic Trends in Leeds

2010: Financial exclusion since 2004

2009: Economic impact of initiatives

2004: Extent and nature of financial inclusion in Leeds

Gambling Related Harm - supporting those at risk

In April 2016 Leeds City Council commissioned Leeds Beckett University to undertake research into the extent of problem gambling in Leeds and to better understand the current support systems that are in place to assist those affected. This research is now being used to improve the support available to those affected by gambling related harm and increase awareness of the issue.

For further information on the support available for gambling problems, visit the Leeds Money Information Centre (MIC).

Further Resources

Leeds Money Information Centre

Leeds Money Information Centre (Leeds MIC) is a website that provides details of the various organisations and agencies in Leeds that offer free help and advice on money, debt, budgeting, reducing bills and affordable loans.

Help with managing your money booklet

A guide for anyone seeking details about the various agencies working in Leeds who provide affordable credit, benefit advice and debt advice. The booklet is available free of charge to all organisations offering advice and support. For hardcopies of the booklet please email

Leeds Poverty Fact Book

Developed in order to understand and document the levels of poverty in Leeds; inform policies and assist in the City’s anti-poverty agenda. The Fact Book contains national and locally sourced data and information to help define and analyse the different themes of poverty. 

Themes within the Fact Book include the numbers of people in income poverty, in-work poverty, those earning less than the living wage, people in fuel poverty, food poverty, debt, those affected by welfare benefit changes, and much more.

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