Grants / Projects we are funding

Barrow Cadbury Trust – Fair by design

Grant details


Awarded on:01/01/2021

Duration:36 months


Area of interest

Systems change

Themes covered

Community resilience

FPF are supporting this cross-funder coalition to campaign against the poverty premium, the extra costs of being poorer. Poverty premiums are a social injustice and are both a consequence and driver of poverty.

What is the issue?

By their very nature, essential services, like energy, credit and insurance are needed by everyone. However, the way markets are currently designed means they discriminate and exclude. People on low incomes and in poverty pay more for essentials: through standard variable tariffs in energy; high interest loans and credit cards; and through higher insurance premiums because they live in deprived areas. This is known as the poverty premium. The poverty premium affects almost every person on a low income and costs the average low income household an extra £490 a year.

What will the project try to achieve?

Fair By Design (FBD)’s vision is for a UK where poor and low income people pay a fair price for essential services. FBD’s mission is to eliminate the poverty premium by 2028.

FBD believes in essential services markets that are designed inclusively, and focuses on ‘fixing the system’ rather than ‘fixing the consumer.’ The best solutions start with the lived experience of people in poverty. Real people’s lives are messy and don’t fit neatly into the remits of government or regulators.


  • Undertakes research and advocates for change, working in partnership.
  • Develops practical policy proposals, as well as encourages good practice.
  • Collaborates with regulators, government and industry to design out the poverty premium.
  • Our Venture Fund invests in scalable start-ups that are developing innovative products that make markets fairer.

Who might be interested in this project?

FBD works at the interface between social and regulatory policy. Sometimes this will mean concentrating on regulatory intervention, sometimes government intervention, and sometimes businesses doing things differently due to pressure placed on them via regulators and government. Usually this means working across all of these stakeholders. The project will therefore be of interest to organisations or individuals who work with or in these audiences: policymakers; regulators; business; or social justice organisations and think tanks.