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Money Advice Service cuts budget by just 1% to £77.5m

The Money Advice Service will spend almost one-third of its money advice budget on marketing as its cuts its total spend by just 1 per cent from £78.3m in 2013/14 to £77.5m in 2014/15.

In its annual business plan, published this week, the MAS says it is “acutely aware” of the need to demonstrate how its work benefits the financial services industry.

Last month, the National Audit Office slammed the money advice part of the MAS as not value for money.

The organisation also came under fierce attack from the Treasury select sub-committee who said it is “not fit for purpose”.

Next year, the MAS plans to spend £43m on money advice services and £34.5m on debt advice compared with £43.8m and £34.5m last year.

In its money advice arm, the MAS will spend £13.5m on marketing and communications, the same as 2013/14.

This includes a range of campaigns to digital marketing which aim to encourage people to take action.

In its plan, the MAS sets outs its goal of making money “free and impartial advice” a normal and everyday part of life.

Speaking to Money Marketing this week, MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes defended the marketing spend and her £140,000 salary while insisting the organisation will do more to signpost to IFAs.

Rookes said: “We need to ensure everything on our site and on the telephone and face-to-face services, points people to professional advisers and makes it easy to get that advice. That is what we are looking at.”

Evolve Financial Planning director Jason Witcombe says: “A 1 per cent cut is just a token gesture to show it is reducing the budget. MAS spends a huge amount that could be better used elsewhere.”

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