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New £12 million money guidance service

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by Kay Mitchell

A free money guidance service is to be launched to help consumers with money matters.

The Government has pledged £12 million for a large-scale trial which will provide general advice on issues such as dealing with debt, budgeting and retirement planning.

It is expected that 750,000 people will use the service during the two-year trial, which is intended to establish how a national money guidance service could be delivered.

Otto Thoresen, chief executive of financial services firm Aegon UK, has published details on how the national scheme should operate. It is believed that a national service would cost between £780 million and £1.67 billion to implement and is to operate between 2009 and 2060.

Mr Thoresen said this should be funded by the Government and the financial services industry. Mr Thoresen’s report declares that by 2060, consumers could be over £15 billion better off if they had access to financial guidance.

Mr Thoresen believes that good money sense needs to be as much part of people’s lives in the 21st century as healthy eating and keeping fit.

Research established that three quarters of people said they would use a money guidance service, a third of whom said they would be very likely to use it.

Peter Vicary-Smith of consumer group Which? Said we have been campaigning for more than 5 years for a national service, which we believe is in the interests of consumers, industry and society.

The challenge is for Government, industry and consumer groups to make it work, concluded Mr Vicary-Smith.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) recently discovered that one in five borrowers are worried about meeting their mortgage repayments in the next 12 months with a quarter of those not having any plans for dealing with the issue.

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News posted: March 4, 2008

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