Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy has attacked the Money Advice Service’s marketing budget and called for the money to be spent funding 300 “front line” debt advisers.
The MAS’ 2014/15 business plan says it intends to spend £13.2m on campaigns and digital marketing “to encourage people to take action”.
Giving evidence to the Treasury select committee this afternoon, Guy said: “The promotional activity I have seen has been around raising awareness around finances and the issues around financing and their own website.
“The budget has come down as a result of pressure, but if I put that in context we could put 300 advisers on the street and be seeing a hell of a lot of people.”
Last December a TSC report gave the MAS a “stay of execution” but called for an independent inquiry to look at the services future.
Asked by Conservative MP Jesse Norman whether the MAS has improved since then, Guy said there had been “quite a shift” but that she and MAS still “agree to differ” on certain things.
She said: “We do not think they need to promote a brand at all – we will always think there is too much spent on that. They are spending less but we think it should go to the front line.
“We also disagree on a point of principle which is the bringing together of money and debt advice and financial capability work.”
MAS’ total budget for this year is £81.1m. It will spend £43m of this providing money advice, with 94 per cent of the remaining £38.1m going to organisations like Citizens Advice to provide debt advice.