Written by Leah Mahon
Published on 23rd February 2021
Britons from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds are reported to be facing disproportionately higher living costs because of the onset of “poverty premium,” a new study shows.
It found that people on low incomes are at a greater risk of being charged more for things such as banking and credit.
Those with protected characteristics – such as in race, age and disability, as well as health, migration history, sex and religion – were also found to be at a substantiated risk.
The research was undertaken by Bristol University academics and published on February 23 by the campaign group Fair by Design.
It aimed to highlight the burden and disproportionate impact inequalities have on different sections of society.
“It is a scandal that disabled people, black, Asian and ethnic minority and low-income families are being penalised and paying more for essential services,” said shadow equalities minister, Marsha de Cordova weighing in on the matter.
“The same groups are already being unequally impacted by this pandemic, facing higher death rates, higher unemployment rates and higher levels of poverty. Now we see creditors and corporations profiting from their precarity.
“The government is failing to uphold their duties set out in the Equality Act and to protect consumers from this kind of discrimination.”
Academics have detailed that people of colour, single parents and other groups were over-represented in lower paid, less secure work.
Also, within poorer neighbourhoods and the private rental sector.
This meant that they were less likely to be able to save money and more likely to face either restricted or more expensive access to banking, credit and insurance and deemed at a greater risk of needing to resort to high-cost credit.
These people were likely to be charged high premiums on their insurance also.
Martin Coppack, Fair by Design’s director, said: “Covid-19 has thrown a light on links between insecure work, low incomes, and protected characteristics. But, even before the pandemic, some people were paying more for life’s essentials because of who they are, where they can afford to live, and the options they have when they have to pay for things.
“To level up our communities, regulators and policymakers should work together to make sure people on low incomes can access the products and services they need at a price they can afford.”