Shadow Treasury financial secretary Chris Leslie has attacked the executive remuneration at the Money Advice Service and raised questions about its health check and strategy.
During a public bill committee meeting yesterday afternoon, Leslie said he was “surprised” by the high pay and bonuses at MAS. Answers to written questions Leslie put to Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban have revealed over £100,000 had been paid in bonuses to senior staff at MAS in 2010/11.
Leslie said: “I think it is more than ironic we have a Money Advice Service with very significantly remunerated senior executives.”
Earlier this month, the business innovation and skills select committee called for an inquiry into MAS chief executive Tony Hobman’s (pictured) £350,000 remuneration package.
Last week, Money Marketing revealed one in three people who had taken the MAS health check did not remember doing so and that MAS research suggests the health check is not significantly changing behaviour. Leslie asked the committee which is currently scrutinising the financial services bill: “It has a health check service, which is good in principle, but to what extent is it being scrutinised?”
He said “questions hang over the strategy” of MAS which is reducing the amount of face-to-face work it does in favour of online services. Leslie wants the service to focus on low earners but amendment put forward by Labour on the issue have been voted down by the Government. Leslie added: “It has seen a large expenditure shift to advertising and marketing opposed to expert in-house money advice.”
Hoban said: “The Money Advice Service needs to think about how it uses it budget best. It needs to reach as many people as possible. My concern is if it focuses on face-to-face advice it would not get the reach it needs.”
He added that the expenditure on advertising was necessary. “The worst thing in the world is to have a beautifully produced website with no visitors,” he said.