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Leslie hits out at MAS strategy and healthcheck

Labour Shadow Treasury financial secretary Chris Leslie has attacked the Money Advice Service’s executive remuneration and raised questions about its healthcheck and strategy.

During a public bill committee meeting last week, 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 rev-ealed over £100,000 was paid in bonuses to senior staff at MAS in 2010/11. This month, the business innovation and skills select committee called for an inquiry into MAS chief executive Tony Hobman’s £350,000 remuneration package.

Earlier this month, Money Marketing revealed one in three people who have taken the MAS healthcheck did not remember doing so and MAS research suggests the healthcheck is not significantly changing consumers’ behaviour.

Last week, Leslie asked the committee examining the Financial Services Bill to what extent the healthcheck is 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 an amendment put forward by Labour on the issue has been voted down by the Government.

Hoban told the committee the Financial Services Bill will bring the MAS under the National Audit Office and see it being audited by the auditor general.

Cambourne Financial Planning director Mark Loydall says: “The MAS is not hitting its goals, the healthcheck is not working. A private company could not just bumble along like this but it is an industry-funded quango and we have no power to change it.”

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