New Smart Data Council to cut household bills

The government initiative will make it easier for consumers and small firms to switch utilities and save money. 

The Department for Business and Trade has announced a new Smart Data Council that will help cut monthly household bills through better sharing of data and tackling the ‘loyalty penalty’.

Image of pound sterling surrounded by data

A loyalty penalty is the difference between what established customers pay compared to the enticing, lower rates for the same service offered to new customers. The department says that for the average household loyalty penalties for mobile, mortgages and broadband amount to £1,114 a year. 

Kevin Hollinrake, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business and Trade, says that, ‘Our new Smart Data Council will build on the success of open banking and spearhead measures in sectors like SME finance, energy and telecoms, increasing competition and putting more money in the pockets of consumers and small firms.’

Since 2018, open banking has enabled UK banks and other financial services firms to securely share information on transactions. Some 7m customers now take part, gaining better knowledge of their finances and the potential to make savings. 

‘Smart data can be a real changer for consumers across the UK,’ says Mr Hollinrake, ‘potentially saving people hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year.’ 

The new Smart Data Council will aim to drive collaboration and knowledge-sharing across decision-makers and stakeholders in the sector. The council is made up of representatives from a broad range of key government departments, regulators, industry and consumer groups. 

These are: the Department for Business and Trade; HM Treasury; the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero; the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology; the Information Commissioner’s Office; Ofcom; Ofgem; the Financial Conduct Authority; the Competition and Markets Authority; TechUK; Innovate Finance; Icebreaker One; Citizens Advice; the Coalition for a Digital Economy (COADEC); Open Data Institute; Ctrl-Shift; Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE); the Investing and Saving Alliance (TISA). 

The council meets for the first time on 25 April 2023. will report on the council’s progress. 

In related news, a data-sharing pilot in the West Midlands has met with success after two care record collaboratives proved they can share data between their separate system suppliers. 

Photo by Julien Tromeur


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