Archive for December, 2014

Money Advice Service to Cut Jobs to Save on Costs

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Treasury-commissioned review of Money Advice Service (MAS) reveals the group are to drastically cut costs and nearly two thirds of staff.

The Telegraph has today reported on an independent review of the Money Advice Service, revealing recommended staff cuts of full-time staff from 130 to 50, reducing the MAS budget from £81.1 million to between £50 – £65 million.

The report, by Christine Farnish, the former head of the National Association of Pension Funds, was picked up by The Telegraph who have recited that the biggest cuts should be felt by the money advice arm of the organisation, sparing the division that focuses on debt management.

One Advice staff support the Tree of Life Food Bank this Christmas

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This Christmas, One Advice are supporting the Tree of Life Centre in Wythenshawe.

Tree of Life, working in partnership with Bideford, Royal Oak and St. Luke’s Centres, have organised a food campaign to make a difference to low-income families this Christmas.

One Advice staff have gotten behind the food bank, diving straight in with generous donations of long-lasting non-perishable food.

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Office of Budget Responsibility forecast rising household debt to income ratio

The Office for Budget Responsibility has published its ‘Economic and Fiscal Outlook’, revealing that the gross household debt to income ratio has significantly increased since the expectations of the March 2014 forecast.

The level of gross household debt is expected to be approximately £174 billion higher by the beginning of 2019 than predicted in March. The revised level is due to factors including an upward revision to household income, with the level of household disposable income now forecast to be 1 ¼% higher than expected in March, following upward revision to historical data which more than offset a weaker forecast for wage growth.

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Household gross debt to income forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility’s ‘Economic and Fiscal Outlook’

Almost half of the change reflects a higher starting point with the latest data indicating that total household debt was £1,670 billion in the second quarter of 2014 – £84 billion higher than implied by the March forecast. This is in light of revisions to historic ONS data, rather than stronger-than-expected debt accumulation in the first half of the years. The remaining change to the 2019 forecast represents an upward revision to the accumulation of debt over the forecast period. This partly reflects higher expected house price growth and the corresponding accumulation of around £49 billion more secured debt than expected in March.

The report also forecasts more accumulation of unsecured debt than in March, due to greater momentum in consumption relative to income. This partly reflects the reduction in market interest rate expectations since March. The rise in unsecured debt between the second quarter of this year and the start of 2019 is now expected to be around £41 billion more than expected in March, although the share of total debt that is unsecured remains in line with the levels seen prior to the recession.

Harrington Brooks supporting Financial Education at MHA Wellbeing Day

Harrington Brooks have delivering a Wellbeing session for year 10 students (age 13/14) at Manchester Health Academy (MHA).

Harrington Brooks have been working alongside MHA Head of Numeracy, Kieran MacHugh, and Head of Literacy, Allison Cowan, to effectively bring to the attention of students some of the health issues that surround managing spending, lending, getting credit and managing debt, aiming to provide students with the tools they need to develop good financial habits for later life.

And we are really pleased to report that the majority of students did understand and could consider and debate a number of key considerations, prior to helping our character “Bob” deal with credit options, debt, stress and related aspects of wellbeing.

Today also combined important literacy and comprehension issues, as students were faced with a “Notice of Issue of Warrant of Control” to deal after Bob found he couldn’t keep up the repayments on his borring. Bob’s story helped students to unravel what the notice meant and we discussed how Bob could deal with the impending visit from enforcement officers/bailiffs, also asking “how does Bob feel” and “how might this affect his wellbeing?”

On Wednesday 3 December Harrington Brooks will be involved in delivering a Wellbeing Day for year 10 students (age 13/14) at Manchester Health Academy (MHA).

 Manchester Health Academy (MHA).

Manchester Health Academy, based in Wythenshawe, are co-sponsored by the NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester City Council. Their ethos of “learning for a healthy future” echoes the Financial Education syllabus’ aims of improving financial literacy in younger generations to address the trap of problem debt tomorrow. With our extensive experience and knowledge of financial management, Harrington Brooks are proud to be involved in the community, educating future generations about good money management.

“Financial understanding is a key life skill. Children need to understand the value of money and how to interact with financial service providers to provide for their own futures. The skills they will learn in class, combined with the experience of having their own savings product, will better equip them to avoid financial problems in later life.” – HM Treasury, 2007.

Financial Education, a new addition to the national curriculum, sees the subject taught as ‘financial numeracy’ as part of maths and ‘attitudes to money and debt’ as part of citizenship. Children aged 11-14, in Key Stage 3 learning “the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management and a range of financial products and services.” Pupils aged 14-16 in Key Stage 4 will learn about “wages, taxes, credit, debt, financial risk and a range of more sophisticated financial products and services.”

Also present at the MHA were Wythenshawe FM and Charlie Topaz from Wythenshawe Connect, the agency that has helped Harrington Brooks join forces with the school.

For more information on Financial Education, see our blog.

FCA Issue New Rules for Credit Brokers

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The FCA has published a new policy statement on credit broking, highlighting tougher rules.

The changes arrive following the FCA’s “significant concerns” over credit brokers who charge upfront fees to consumers, with 41% of FCA complaints received in relation to credit broking – 80% of these complaints are about online brokers charging upfront fees.

The new rules on credit broking will take effect from 2nd January, 2015, and include:

  • A ban on credit brokers charging fees to customers, and from requesting customers’ payment details for that purpose unless they meet FCA requirements.
  • Credit brokers must ensure customers are given clear information about who they are dealing with, what fee will be payable, and when and how the fee will be payable.
  • Fee-charging brokers must notify the FCA of the websites they operate.
  • Brokers must include their legal name (as it appears in the FCA Register) in all advertising and all correspondence with customers.
  • Advertising must clearly state that the firm is a credit broker and not a lender.

 

Read the  FCA’s new policy statement here.