Financial Exclusion

Treasury written question – answered on 30th March 2006.

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Photo of Stephen Hesford Stephen Hesford PPS (Rt Hon Baroness Amos, President of the Council), Privy Council Office

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Wirral, West did not have access to a bank account on 31 December (a) 2005 and (b) 1997.

Photo of John Healey John Healey The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The most recent data available that allows assessment to be made of the number of households with no access to a bank account is the Family Resources Survey from 2002–03. This indicates that 8 per cent. of households in the United Kingdom had no bank account of any kind. This equated to 1.9 million households containing around 2.8 million adults. This data is broken down to Government Office regional level. This shows 9 per cent. of households in the North West and Merseyside were unbanked.

In 1997–98, the Family Resources Survey was collected on a Great Britain basis, excluding Northern Ireland. 11 per cent. of households in the North West and Merseyside were unbanked at that time compared to 8 per cent. of households in Great Britain as a whole.

In December 2004, the Government and the banks agreed to work together towards the goal of halving the number of adults in households with no access to a bank account of any kind and of making significant progress within two years. The financial inclusion taskforce has been asked to monitor progress. The taskforce recently made its first annual report, which concluded that steady progress has been made towards the goal but also encouraged banks to continue to address the difficulties faced in opening a bank account.

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