The poverty premium is the term for people in poverty paying more for equivalent goods and services than those with higher incomes. Fair by Design (FBD) is a programme designed with the mission of ending the poverty premium within 10 years. It’s a bold ambition. It was conceived by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and Big Society Capital (BSC) working in partnership, and operates in collaboration with a range of partners including Barrow Cadbury Trust.
FBD is split into two strands that tackle the issue from different perspectives and together we hope will achieve the mission: The Venture Fund and the Fair by Design Campaign (FBDC). The Venture Fund will invest directly in social sector organisations tackling the poverty premium while the Campaign (starting in April 2018) will encourage the eradication of the premium by working with corporate providers, policy makers, regulators and through public debate.
Barrow Cadbury Trust is leading and managing the FBD Campaign, although in time consideration may be given to creating an independent entity. Additional grant funding has already been committed by Comic Relief, Big Lottery Fund and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
To be successful, the Campaign is likely to involve:
- working with government departments and regulators to ensure policy and regulation adequately protect low-income consumers from paying a premium;
- working with corporates in key target sectors to understand their products and business models, and work with them to develop and roll-out products and services that are designed for low-income consumers (even if also a wider consumer base); and
- galvanising public support (including among low income consumers) for these changes through advocacy and campaigning, and showing what’s possible.
The Fair by Design Campaign will operate separately from but collaborate closely with the Venture Fund which was launched in November 2017 and is now up and running. Big Society Capital, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Nominet Trust have put £9m into the fund (target £15m to £20m over 10 years). The fund will invest in social sector organisations that reduce the poverty premium. It will also support later funding rounds, providing a coherent source of funding for these enterprises. Running alongside the Fund, the Fair by Design Campaign will primarily be a grant funded influencing vehicle. We believe that growing successful innovative challenger businesses will help the Fair by Design Campaign to influence regulators and corporates by providing working examples of what is possible.
A Steering Group will provide overarching direction for both the Venture Fund and Fair by Design Campaign. Foundations have been laid for working with people with experience of poverty and the poverty premium. A Campaign Director and Campaign Manager are currently being recruited.