The Government has announced plans to set up a new body offering advice on pensions, debt and money matters.
The Economic Secretary and the Minister for Pensions, Simon Kirby and Richard Harrington respectively, have agreed plans to develop an all-encompassing body to manage financial queries on these areas from the general public.
“Our government wants to give ordinary people more control over the lives, and that includes their financial security. We strongly believe that creating one public guidance body is the best way of making it as easy as possible for people to access the help they need to get their financial questions answered.”
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby
“A single guidance body will be more efficient and will help consumers make the right financial decisions, and we are committed to ensuring people can access the best free and impartial financial guidance possible.”
Minister for Pensions, Richard Harrington
The initial plans pointed towards having two separate entities. One to deal with pension guidance, the other to focus on debt and financial advice. After industry and consumer group feedback it has been decided to incorporate both areas of advice in to one body.
Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice Chief Executive, responded with the following:
“What’s best for consumers needs to be at the centre of the changes to public financial guidance. It is important that there is a holistic approach to guidance and debt advice offering the opportunity for money, debt and pensions services to be interlinked so as to address people’s financial queries as a whole.
“Government could also consider how guidance could be offered at key stages of people’s lives – like starting a new job or having a baby – so people get their questions answered when their finances change.
“We’ll continue to work closely with government as these plans are developed.”
The process now continues with consultations on the best and most efficient way to design a single body model.
No date has been set for when the new organisation would begin to operate or when any transition from incumbent providers, being the Pension Advisory Service, Pension Wise and MAS, would begin.
In the wake of the great recession, the Money Advice Service was set up to offer free of charge financial advice to people in the UK. Following reviews by the Commons Select Committee, George Osbourne announced plans in an earlier budget to abolish the industry-funded service.