This themed issue examines household finances within the context of the 2007 banking crisis, which triggered the biggest downturn in many global economies since the Great Depression in the 1930s. The effects of this crisis and subsequent global recession were still unfolding at the time the articles of this issue were submitted to the journal. The election of the coalition government in May 2010, and its emergency budget aimed at reducing the nation's budget deficit, precipitated the biggest reduction in public sector funding in living memory. Rising unemployment and the increasing cost of living means that for many households even greater strain has been placed on their finances. Other developments, such as the winding-up of the Treasury Financial Inclusion Taskforce and the axing of asset building policies, for example the Child Trust Fund and Saving Gateway, had, to some, signalled an end to the consensus in government that had been built up around the financial inclusion agenda, and had left a big gap in social policy.