Helping Households Maximise Their Income

Living costs are rising faster than income and our poorest families are particularly vulnerable because of the 'poverty premium'. One of the ambitions of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan is to tackle low income. How can those in a position to provide support help households struggling to make ends meet to manage their finances to maximise their income?

The context

Inflation is rising and wage growth is poor, as a result households are finding it harder to make ends meet. The latest report on the Disposable Income Index (DII) from the Scottish Friendly and Social Market Foundation (Q3 2017) found that for a second quarter in a row, CPI inflation outgrew wages, indicating that the income squeeze experienced in the first half of the 2010s is back. 

Figures from the DII also show that three quarters of British households are reliant on credit to make ends meet. Nearly one in five (17%) Brits who are credit dependent found themselves short of money on more than five occasions in the last 12 months and needed credit to support themselves until their next pay cheque. The recent rise in the Bank of England base rate will make finances for these households even tighter.

It is the poorest families with the least disposable income who will be the most affected and we already know from March 2017’s Scottish Government figures that the number of people of all ages living in poverty has increased from 18% to 20% of the population in the past year.

The event

Organisations across Scotland are putting in place solutions to support families which are struggling. At this event we will focus on the practical measures organisations can take to help households: from assisting with the management of debt and bills, to working with households to help them access all the support they are entitled to. As we do so we will share national and local initiatives that you can tap into and learn from to help families in your area.

Key issues to be discussed

  • What are the key financial pressures facing Scotland’s households?
  • How we can improve Money Advice
  • Providing specific financial support: debt management, fuel poverty, improving the uptake of benefits 
  • Improving access to affordable credit
  • Case studies from across Scotland


09:15 Registration and refreshments

09:55 Opening remarks from the chair

Professor Alan Alexander OBE, Emeritus Professor of Public Sector Management, Strathclyde Business School

Session 1: Under Financial Pressure 

10:00 Families Under Pressure: What does recent research tell us about the financial challenges facing households?

Professor John H. McKendrick, Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University

10:20 Households on the edge

Peter Dicker, Manager, East Lothian Foodbank

10:40 Meeting Scotland’s Child Poverty Targets as Household Finances Tighten

Kirsty McKechnie, Welfare Rights Worker (Welfare Reform), Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland

11:00 Questions and Discussion

11:15 Refreshments and Networking

Session 2: Helping Households Get the Information and Support They Need

11:30 Scotland in the Red 2017

  • Debt trends in Scotland in 2017

Sharon Bell, Head, StepChange Scotland

Lawrie Morgan Klein, Public Affairs Officer, StepChange Scotland

11:50 Tackling Fuel Poverty

Barbara Atterson, Development Manager / Deputy Director, Energy Action Scotland

12:10 Improving the Uptake in Benefits

  • Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government, undertook a pilot project aimed at maximising income for older people through increased benefit uptake
  • The core components of the pilot was a carefully targeted advertising campaign by the Scottish Government alongside the offer and provision of financial health checks by CAB
  • This session will share the lessons learned 

Peter Beckett, Welfare Reform Mitigation Project Coordinator, Citizens Advice Scotland 

12:30 Questions and Discussion

12:50 Lunch and Networking

Session 3: Learning From Practice From Across Scotland

13:30 Improving Money Advice

  • An overview of advice services in Scotland
  • Delivering services in ways that meet the needs of users

Paige Barclay, Project Officer, Improving Outcomes in Money Advice (MAO) project, Improvement Service

13:50 Evidence Beats Assertion: The need for affordable credit

  • Seismic shift in who is accessing high cost credit, and who isn’t
  • Need for fair alternatives is increasingly vital
  • Low income households need a gateway to financial inclusion
  • Carnegie UK Trust has been addressing a wicked problem

Niall Alexander, Associate (Affordable Credit), Carnegie UK Trust

14:10 The Health Impact of Low Income on Children and How the NHS Can Help Patients to Maximise Their Income

Kerry McKenzie, Organisational Lead - Child Poverty, NHS Health Scotland

14:30 Housing Support

Sharon McIntyre, Financial Inclusion Innovation Manager​, Wheatley Foundation 

14:50 Questions and Discussion

15:10 Closing Remarks from the Chair

15:15 Close of event

*Agenda subject to change


Radisson Blu Hotel, 80 High Street,The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 1TH​


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

19 April 2018



Share this page