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The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) often discusses the importance of understanding and addressing inequalities (see for example the Nuffield Foundation-funded Deaton review). This closely links with Registry Trust data on County Court Judgment (CCJ) debt due to the influence that inequalities have on patterns of indebtedness at the ‘sharp end’ of the scale.

Registry Trust maintains the official Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines for the UK and Ireland. The data from the Register allows us to assess the who, what, where, and when of financial vulnerability.

The IFS review discusses the idea that income inequality might be the most commonly discussed form of inequality. But inequalities do not stop there. Inequalities also take the form of health, education, gender, ethnicity, and so on.

Now let’s consider how inequalities can result in becoming ‘financially unfit’. The table below highlights only a few types of inequalities that can result in poor finances.

RT blog inequalities diagram.png

For example, disparities in health. Poor mental or physical health may result in having to take time out of work, possibly resulting in reduced hours worked or unemployment, therefore a loss of income. This loss of income heightens financial instability and increases the possibility of receiving an unpayable debt.

Furthermore, earning less than men on average, women are both more likely to both be in debt and to take longer to repay debts than men. A variety of factors influence female financial instability, including the gender pay gap or an increased likelihood of being a single parent.

Another inequality is in education. Areas with poor schooling are likely to see a reduced number of young adults continuing to higher education at college or universities. This potentially hinders those young adults from attaining careers with higher paid salaries, placing them at an instant disadvantage to those who had access to better quality education.

This shows that a wide variety of inequalities impact personal finances. It is expected that COVID-19 will increase cases of indebtedness for individuals who are already faced with inequality, therefore it will be interesting to see the true effect of COVID-19 on inequalities in the UK, and the result of this on consumer and corporate finances.

As we continue to monitor and disseminate our data on monetary judgments in the UK & Ireland, I will seek to analyse the trends we see in the wider context of growing inequalities. Watch this space…

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