Ten-year strategy to make Britons better off launched

21 January 2020

Goals include increasing the number of savers by two million and reducing the reliance on credit cards for day-to-day spending

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The government has put forward a new 10-year plan to help transform the nation’s financial health by getting more people to save regularly.

The Money and Pensions Service (Maps) has launched a strategy with five “agendas of change” to help improve financial wellbeing for millions of people by 2030.

According to Maps, about 11.5 million people currently have less than £100 in savings to fall back on, while nine million people often use credit to pay for food or essential bills.

Maps wants to increase the number of people saving regularly by two million to 16.7 million.

It also set a target of two million fewer people using credit to pay for food or bills by 2030.

Maps says that people who have financial wellbeing are less stressed about money, which in turn has positive effects on their health, relationships and work.

The goals include increasing the number of children receiving financial education by two million to 6.8 million and better debt advice for two million more people as currently only 32% of those who need debt advice have access to it.

It also wants to improve the number of people who understand later life planning by five million.

Caroline Siarkiewicz, acting chief executive of Maps, says: “Financial wellbeing underpins personal health and happiness, but it doesn’t happen by chance.

“We’re launching a strategy for entire lifetimes, aiming to expand financial education for children while ensuring everyone is equipped to plan for and enjoy their retirement.”

Key initiatives include increasing the availability of affordable credit, more payroll savings products, and an expansion of free debt advice for when people are in crisis.

The government abolished the Money Advice Service in 2016 over concerns that it was not delivering value for money. It merged with Pension Wise and The Pension Advisory Service to form Maps in 2019.

Commenting on the launch, Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, says: “Many people are living life on a financial cliff edge with debt and loans, coupled with the burden of financial obligations and commitments, impacting their ability to control their finances and respond to financial unpredictability. Improving financial wellbeing is a win-win for individuals, employers and the UK economy.

“It’s important that any strategy factors in the benefits of advice. While information and guidance may often be what people need, it’s vital that people also know when and where to go when they need expert help from a professional financial adviser.”

Guy Rigden, chief executive of financial education charity MyBnk adds: "Millions has been spent testing the effectiveness of financial education so we know what is needed at many levels. The 2020s can be the decade young people finally receive the meaningful financial education they deserve and society needs.

"Instead of choosing prevention or cure, it has rightly prescribed both.”

 

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