Press release: Moving Full Steam Ahead Towards A More Financially Capable UK

Wednesday 25 March 2015

The Money Advice Service is today launching an innovative new evidence hub* which will bring together up to the minute evidence on what really works in helping people manage their money better.

The new “evidence hub” – the first of its kind for financial capability – is designed to help organisations learn from the success or failure of projects in the past. The Money Advice Service hopes that it will enable organisations to give more effective support to people. This could be children learning about money for the first time, working age adults facing financial difficulties or older people seeking to make the most of their retirement.

People’s attitudes towards money jeopardise their ability to cope

The Service is also today publishing research which shows that people’s attitudes towards money can jeopardise their ability to cope financially. The research shows that while UK consumers know what good money management looks like, being ‘bad’ with money is perceived to be an easier option. People want to keep up the lifestyle they’re used to, rather than putting money aside for difficult life events such as redundancy or bereavement.

In addition, people are averse to seeking help – feeling that seeking advice is for people who are in ‘real debt’ rather than those who are experiencing ‘financial problems’*.

The Service says that today’s study provides further evidence that levels of financial capability in the UK are low. It reinforces the Service’s 2013 research, which showed, for example, that 16% of people cannot read the balance on a bank statement and 40% would have to think about how to cover an unexpected £300 bill.*

A Financial Capability Strategy to address the problem

The Service is leading the development, with partners in the public, private and voluntary sector, of a Financial Capability Strategy for the UK to help improve habits towards money. Alongside the research and the hub, a response to an initial consultation on the Strategy is being published today, ahead of a final Strategy and action plan later in the year.

Between now and the final Strategy, the Service will be stepping up its role in leading the drive for greater financial capability, as recommended by Christine Farnish’s review of the Money Advice Service published last week. Next steps will include a summit to bring together funders of financial education to share best practice and identify gaps, and the launch of pilot programmes to help parents teach their children about money.

Commenting on today’s publication, Caroline Rookes, CEO of the Money Advice Service said:

“Today we uncover further information about the low levels of financial capability in the UK. It’s more evidence of the need for everyone with an interest in improving people’s money habits to pull together to address the situation.

“That’s exactly what we and our partners will be doing in the next few months, as part of finalising the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK. We’ll be working hard to encourage con-sumers to plan ahead for key life events and saving for unexpected costs is a good starting point. We are keen to ensure good money management starts at a young age so we will be bringing together funders of financial education for children and young people.

“We will continue to ensure that evaluation remains at the heart of our strategy – building on our new hub, we will assemble comprehensive evidence of what works and what doesn’t.

“Consumers are at the heart of everything we do and we and our partners are determined to bring about a step change in the financial capability of the UK population.”

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About the Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. Set up by government to help people make the most of their money, it gives free, unbiased money advice across the UK – online, over the phone and face to face. Paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Conduct Authority, its statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding & knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system), and to enhance the ability of the public to manage their own financial affairs.

For more information please contact the Money Advice Service Press Office on 020 7943 0593

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