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New Statesman at Party Conferences 2014

Highlights from fringe events at Labour party conference.

Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with ACCA ‘Does business care about politics?’ 2014
Left to right: Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group; John Cridland CBE, Director-General, CBI; Sarah Hathaway, Head of ACCA UK; Jon Bernstein, Chairperson, Former Deputy Editor, New Statesman; Rt. Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair, Public Accounts Committee; John Longworth, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce at a New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with ACCA ‘Does business care about politics?’ 2014

Audience at New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with ACCA ‘Does business care about politics?’ 2014

 

Sarah Hathaway, Head of ACCA UK at New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with ACCA ‘Does business care about politics?’ 2014

Rt. Hon Margaret Hodge MP at New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with ACCA ‘Does business care about politics?’ 2014

Melanie Leech, Director General, Food and Drink Federation; Vicki Hird, Senior Campaigner, Land Use, Food and Water Security Programme, Friends of the Earth; Nick von Westenholz, Chief Executive, Crop Protection Association; Jon Bernstein, Chairperson, Former Deputy Editor of the New Statesman;  Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Shadow Minister for Food and Farming; Richard Reeves, Chairman of the Northwest Crop Board, NFU; at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Crop Protection Association ‘Is food security in danger unless we change our attitudes to technology and innovation?’ 2014


Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Shadow Minister for Food and Farming at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Crop Protection Association ‘Is food security in danger unless we change our attitudes to technology and innovation?’ 2014

Huw Irranca-Davies MP and Richard Reeves, Chairman of the Northwest Crop Board, NFU at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Crop Protection Association ‘Is food security in danger unless we change our attitudes to technology and innovation?’ 2014

 

Melanie Leech, Director General, Food and Drink Federation; Vicki Hird, Senior Campaigner, Land Use, Food and Water Security Programme, Friends of the Earth; Nick von Westenholz, Chief Executive, Crop Protection Association; at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Crop Protection Association ‘Is food security in danger unless we change our attitudes to technology and innovation?’ 2014.

 

Anthony Painter, Director of Institutional Reform, RSA; Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow, Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS); Anooush Chakelian, Acting Editor of the Staggers, Chair, New Statesman; Verity Harding, Public Policy Manager, Google UK; at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Google ‘Can a progressive Britain be downloaded? What does tech offer social justice?’ 2014
 
New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Google ‘Can a progressive Britain be downloaded? What does tech offer social justice?’ 2014

Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow, Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS); Anooush Chakelian, Acting Editor of the Staggers, Chair, New Statesman; at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Google ‘Can a progressive Britain be downloaded? What does tech offer social justice?’ 2014

Audience at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Google ‘Can a progressive Britain be downloaded? What does tech offer social justice?’ 2014

Anthony Painter, Director of Institutional Reform, RSA; Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow, Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS); Anoosh Chakelian, Acting Editor of the Staggers, Chair, New Statesman; Verity Harding, Public Policy Manager, Google UK; at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Google ‘Can a progressive Britain be downloaded? What does tech offer social justice?’ 2014

Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills, at the New Statesman Labour 2014 fringe event in partnership with FSB ‘Small business question time: small businesses as generators of growth and jobs’

Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, FSB, Jon Bernstein, Chair, New Statesman, Hon Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills, at the New Statesman Labour 2014 fringe event in partnership with FSB ‘Small business question time: small businesses as generators of growth and jobs’

Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, FSB, at the New Statesman Labour 2014 fringe event in partnership with FSB ‘Small business question time: small businesses as generators of growth and jobs’

Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, FSB, Jon Bernstein, Chair, New Statesman, Hon Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills, at the New Statesman Labour 2014 fringe event in partnership with FSB ‘Small business question time: small businesses as generators of growth and jobs’

Graeme Fisher, Head of Policy, FSB, Jon Bernstein, Chair, New Statesman, Hon Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills, at the New Statesman Labour 2014 fringe event in partnership with FSB ‘Small business question time: small businesses as generators of growth and jobs’

 

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Shadow Minister in Communities and Local Government; Becky Slack, Chair, New Statesman; Mark Henderson, Chief Executive, Home Group; at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Home Group ‘Regeneration, revenue and thinking: The future of housing’ 2014

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Shadow Minister in Communities and Local Government at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Home Group ‘Regeneration, revenue and thinking: The future of housing’ 2014

Mark Henderson, Chief Executive, Home Group; at the New Statesman Labour fringe event in partnership with Home Group ‘Regeneration, revenue and thinking: The future of housing’ 2014 @MarkGHenderson @homegroup #rethinkinghousing

Hywel Jarman, Director of External Affairs, EEF; Lee Hopley, Chief Economist, EEF; Rocky Lorusso, Head of Government Affairs, EEF; at the New Statesman Labour fringe event 2014 in partnership with EEF A balanced recovery: Will Labour prioritise manufacturing after 2015? with Chris Leslie MP’
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MasterCard Worldwide

Could technology hold the key to eliminating financial exclusion?

Technology and electronic payments are a lever, providing new ways to bring people into the system and to reduce vulnerable citizens’ reliance on cash.

There is still a long way to go to improve the nation’s financial health.  A key aspect of this is to tackle financial exclusion, and to ensure that every adult is connected in the right way and affordably, to the regular, and therefore regulated financial system. Financial Inclusion is not a party political issue, it is a necessity which makes economic and social policy sense. Where people are financially included individuals, firms, and society as a whole benefit.   

The assumption that financial exclusion is a problem solely in developing economies alone could not be further from the truth. In Western Europe, the population of unbanked and underbanked totals 93 million people. The UK is also ranked ninth in the world in terms of banking inclusion, however two million adults still do not have a bank account. As the UK recovers from the economic crisis, living standards have fallen and inclusion in the financial system remains a major issue. This is despite the fact that the UK leads the world in financial services and technology. Sluggish wage growth, unemployment and macroeconomic uncertainties have placed great pressure on household budgets, exacerbating the fragility of personal finances for many of Britain’s most vulnerable citizens.

While there has been good progress made in the past to address the exclusion problem, the need to realise financial inclusion has never been greater. In March 2015 a report published by the Financial Inclusion Commission, a non-partisan, cross-party group of experts and parliamentarians, identified 20 key recommendations that policy makers could implement to create a financially healthy society. Among them was the recognition of the potential opportunities offered by developments in technology and digital innovation to connect all citizens to the banking system.

Technology and electronic payments are a lever, providing new ways to bring people into the system and to reduce vulnerable citizens’ reliance on cash. Evidence and experience has shown that where cash usage is higher, so is the level of corruption, poverty and exclusion, as well as lower levels of productivity and growth. The Bank of England recently published analysis of cash usage, finding that half of cash in circulation is held overseas or used in the shadow economy. Due to the untraceable nature of this tender, it is not known how much cash is lost to each market.

Promoting cashless economies, supported by technology, has a significant impact on the financial capability of individuals in managing private finances. New technologies enabling bank account holders to distribute their money into jam jars is an example of the role digital innovations are playing in addressing the exclusion issue.  There are already examples of where this is working. In the UK, the diverse London Borough of Brent recognised the opportunity electronic payments present and became UK’s first cashless local authority. Internationally, programmes like SASSA in South Africa and Adahaar in India, are overcoming the challenges of access and identification in disbursing welfare to remote communities, revolutionising the financial capability and access of the welfare recipients.

Yet, underlining all of this is a need for real leadership to drive the financial inclusion agenda. Politicians and industry both have important roles to play in joining-up and supporting the many organisations and individuals already doing good work in this area. Only through this leadership can the UK become a truly financially inclusive society.

Mark Barnett

President, UK and Ireland

MasterCard

Tackling financial exclusion is a global corporate objective for MasterCard, who provide support for the Financial Inclusion Commission.