Changing Finance: new this month

A monthly round-up of news, ideas and initiatives related to transforming the UK financial system for people and planet, compiled by the Lab’s CEO Jesse Griffiths.

UK economy: some bleak reading

British businesses are taking on debt at twice the normal rate. The Bank of England expects that half of government-backed small business loans won’t be paid back. The NAO thinks the government will have to write off £31 billion.

The number of destitute UK households doubles. How the stamp duty holiday is leading to homelessness, while almost half a million people have fallen into housing debt.

One in four are now financially vulnerable, according to the FCA.

Almost a third of lower paid NHS workers use five or more loan providers, many of which are high cost. Gig economy work in the financial sector set to triple from 5% to 15-20% in three to five years.

Here’s The FCA’s Financial Lives 2020 survey on the impact of the coronavirus on consumers and finance.


Un-levelling up – research shows how geographically skewed capital gains are in the UK with just under 1600 Londoners making more than the whole of the north of England. London has the world’s biggest concentration of dollar millionaires. Video on the growing gap between rich and poor.

‘Openlux’ investigation shows Luxembourg to be major tax haven – ‘home’ to more than 10% of the world’s billionaires, despite a tiny population.

Who really owns the UK stock market? – an interesting chart.

Investors rebuke top firms over lack of diversity in senior management. What is the impact of the pandemic on women in the UK?

Regulation, regulation, regulation

A major audit reform is in the offing. Will buy now, pay later firms face full regulation?

What principles should guide the development of the National Infrastructure Bank?  Will the new Freeports be Sleazeports?

The ‘Big 4’ audit firms will begin separating their audit division from the rest of their business, as required by the regulator.

The financialisation of Big Tech.

Climate and biodiversity

The overwhelming majority of the UK’s top listed companies fail to meaningfully disclose climate-related risks, impacts and financial implications. Stinging critique of Network for Greening the Financial System from NGOs – saying NGFS’s scenarios ‘guide climate action to riskier pathways‘.

European ESG investment rises to record levels. Fossil fuel reliant states stand to lose $9 trillion in revenues in the next two decades. Who still invests in coal? A 1 trillion dollar list of shame, topped by Vanguard and Blackrock. An in depth analysis of ‘Larry’s letters’ – is Blackrock serious about climate?

2/3 think climate change is a global emergency: one result of the world’s biggest poll on climate change. Campaigners call for a greening of the Bank of England, and for the EU to establish climate and environmental harm classification.

Everyone’s heard of the Dasgupta review on biodiversity, it seems. What does it mean for financial regulators? An alternative approach to saving ecosystems.

Global stormclouds

The pandemic has seen global debt (both public and private) rise to a record $24 trillion, or 355% of GDP.

And finally….

The revolutions underway in macroeconomics. How to become a better listener. A tool to estimate your Twitter gender bias.

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