In an article for the Society Guardian, Rowena Young considers the appointment of Guy Opperman as minister for Financial Inclusion and asks what he should prioritise:
What value a life? For Jerome Rogers, a 20 year-old motorcycle courier, it was painfully low. Within 24 hours of a visit from a bailiff, he was found by his brother and a friend to have hanged himself. The sum of his debts? Around £1,000, or a couple of weeks’ income on the average UK wage.
Tragically, he is no longer here to tell it, but stories like Jerome’s are to gain a new level of attention in Theresa May’s government. For this month saw the appointment of the UK’s first minister for financial inclusion.
The news came without fanfare or warning, but was most likely influenced by the Financial Inclusion Commission’s recommendation earlier this year that reform starts with “a senior minister as the government lead on financial inclusion and financial capability”. Guy Opperman MP is the man of the hour and has a longstanding interest in living wages, community businesses and regional banks. He also has responsibility at the DWP for pensions.
Opperman has much to do. In five areas of the UK, including Wales and Northern Ireland, more than half the population has savings of less than £100 and one in three adults has experienced a major financial shock in the last five years