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Govt throws its support behind Money Advice Service

Money Advice Service

The Government has thrown its support behind the Money Advice Service, saying it has an “important responsibility”.

Tory peer Lord Naseby lodged a written parliamentary question last month asking if the Government is considering winding up MAS.

This week, commercial secretary Lord James Sassoon said there are no plans to scrap the service.

Sassoon said: “The service has an important responsibility to develop consumer financial education, raise public understanding and knowledge of financial matters and the ability of people to manage their own financial affairs.

“It offers impartial information and advice on money matters nationally and is available to all online, by telephone and face-to-face. The Government is, therefore, not considering winding up the service.”

Last week, Lord Naseby called for MPs and Lords to put more political pressure on the Government over MAS, labeling it a “waste of money”.

MAS has come under fire for its “colossal” marketing spend, high pay for senior staff and its “crap” online tools. It is currently the subject of a Treasury select committee inquiry.

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Comments

There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Lets face it – theres no getting away from paying for some things which might be crap but nonetheless are unique and have their place…

    The fact is that MAS is an expensive, ineffective, and unnecessary cost (not to mention unwanted by IFA’s)….

    Lets hope Paul Deighton sees the light and makes it his new years resolution to put this badly run, surplus to requirement shambles to bed.

  2. Is there nobody in our government with common sense? Viewed from any standpoint the MAS has been a crashing failure from day one.

    This is particularly galling as it is OUR money which is being p***ed against the wall.

  3. “The Government has thrown its support behind the Money Advice Service, saying it has an “important responsibility”.”

    In which case if it is important it should pay for it

    It isn’t and they won’t of course.

    Evidence? See the article later on from MM admitting that the MAS has failed to achieve its target. Bet they are holding their grubby little hands out for more of our money some time soon

  4. I think that MAS does have a part to play – it has thus far been poorly designed and failed to deliver.

    Until such time as it can deliver what is was designed to achieve it should be funded privately NOT from the industry and NOT from the tax payer.

    Sounds fair to me.

  5. The principal reason why the government supports the MAS is that it’s an opportunity to transfer from central government onto the financial services industry responsibility for funding the provision of most of the services which, up to now, have been provided by the CAB and a host of other centrally funded counselling agencies. There have, for example, been:-

    1. no explanation as to how the services of the CAB have in any way been deficient (and therefore why those servces need to be transferred to another agency),

    2. no Cost:Benefit Analysis of the MAS (the FSA appears to have complete and unilateral discretion as to whether or not it bothers with such things),

    3. no consultation of the industry (not that FSA consultations are worth a light anyway),

    4. no report on how the MAS thus far has in any way done a better job than the CAB (all reports thus far appear to indicate that it’s done a worse job),

    5. with the sole exception of the excessive remuneration package granted to the now departed Tony Hobman, no rein or disciplines imposed on its budget (why should the government care about something it doesn’t have to fund?),

    6. no response to complaints from CAB’s around the country about how they’re being slowly but inexorably starved of funding (as reported on BBC Radio 4),

    7. no response to objections from the IFA community about the imposition of this additional cost burden (on top of everything else),

    8. no response to complaints about CAB staff routinely rubbishing IFA’s at their roadshow presentations (we are, after all, forced to pay for the damned things),

    9. no response to suggestions that personal financial management as part of the national educational curriculum would be a far better strategy than sticking plaster, after-the-event remedies for financial problems (which, anecdotally, appear to be the most common reasons for people consulting it).

    If people aren’t educated from an early age in the do’s and dont’s of personal finance BEFORE they reach have to manage their own affairs, then generation after generation will continue to make the same mistakes ad infinitum. Bleeding the financial services industry of tens of millions of pounds a year for the MAS to try to “educate” people AFTER they’ver mismanaged their finances because they were never educated in how to avoid such situations arising is just a terrible waste of our money.

    And there lies the core of the problem ~ the MAS is yet another example of an idea that sounded like it might have some merit and to hell with what it’ll cost because other people can be forced to pay for it and those who refuse will just have their livelihoods confiscated.

    If, as so far seems to be the case, the whole MAS enterprise flops, no matter how much MORE money is thrown at it to try to make it succeed, there are no consequences for those who thought it sounded like a good proposition but who, in reality, have no idea as to whether or not it’s likely to be of any measurable value, either socially or economically. So far, it’s patently been neither.

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