The council is to help more households to better manage their money by ensuring they are able to access a range of suitable financial services and products, which will enable them to live a more independent life.
Central to this is supporting more and more residents to “go digital” where paying bills and shopping online can save a household an estimated £560 a year compared with one that is offline.
This includes using the council’s online services – My Account, where users can carry out council transactions such as council tax payment in one place, and the smartphone app My Croydon.
The number of residents signed up currently stands at 60,000 – with the aim of hitting 80,000 by the end of March, which would mean half of Croydon’s households are using My Account.
The overall approach will range from supporting residents to access a number of financial services such as bank accounts and insurance through to accessing training and employment.
The council is to also ensure there are better alternatives to pay day lenders, by working with the local Credit Union to make it easier to access credit.
In addition work will be undertaken to provide financial skills not only for those currently struggling with increasing bills but also for young people to educate them on the importance of household budgeting before they leave school.
These measures are part of a financial inclusion paper going to cabinet on Monday, 19 January, which explores how the council will help people help themselves in managing their household budgets.
Key to this will be through further working with third parties such as local community organisations, for example Advice Services Croydon, an Age UK Croydon-led consortium that is supporting people with access to digital services.
“This work supports our wider welfare reform programme of providing support to our residents by helping them make their own financial choices and control their household budgets. Through working with charities and community groups, we plan to build on the support already available and reach out to more households. “We’re also stepping up efforts to get more people to access council services online, as this makes it far easier for residents to manage their finances, and saves money too. This number is quickly increasing and we want to get half of our borough’s households using My Account by the end of March.”
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice