Across the length and breadth of the country, people are feeling the pinch of tough financial times. The level of hardship experienced can vary greatly between regions, and for the first time in the UK, there is now a consumer credit index which provides media professionals with unprecedented insight into the state of the nation, allowing them to track the number of people who turn to payday loans in times of need.
Breaking down the data
Created by CashLady, an award winning credit broker, the new consumer credit index utilises an interactive map and breaks the country down into 14 regions. It can show the number of people from each of these areas that have applied for short-term credit assistance. Journalists and economic commentators can use this information to identify the parts of the country in which people are most struggling to make ends meet. Both month-on-month and year-on-year comparisons are available, with the hope being that media outlets will gain a better understanding of their constituents’ lives. After all, the more reflective their coverage can be, the more likely it is that local governments and employers can respond accordingly in terms of financial policies and economic support.
The problem with ‘real wages’
The index also shines a light on the most common motivations behind loan applications. These include help to meet unexpected expenses, and a need to cover bills between pay cheques. This brings to the forefront the rising problem of poor ‘real wages’: the amount of spending power we actually have once the likes of inflation and regional price discrepancies have been taken into account.
By showing the average monthly income of those applying for short-term loans, and essentially naming and shaming the top 3 employers in each region whose workforces routinely have to apply for emergency credit, CashLady hope to help narrow the gap between what people are paid, and how much they actually need to live comfortably.
There are already plans in place to evolve the index by improving the intricacy of the information it displays. In the coming months, it should also be able to provide access to more in-depth breakdowns of the UK’s biggest cities, thus helping to pinpoint areas of specific media interest. With the facts now more accessible than ever, we can only hope that greater financial security for all will follow in turn.