The Treasury select committee has attacked the Money Advice Service for not being clear about its objectives and spending, claiming it ”does not know what it is doing” in regards to delivering financial advice.
MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes appeared before a TSC sub-committee hearing today as part of an inquiry into the service which has lasted more than a year.
MPs hit out at the MAS 2013/14 business plan for being unclear and for allocating money to be spent on marketing instead of face-to-face advice.
TSC sub-committee chair George Mudie said: “Your business plan says out of a £46.5m budget you only spend £8.8m on service delivery. That is the underlying unease we have about the flowery language in this report. We don’t know what the hell you are doing with it.
“If you cannot find ways of delivering a service on money advice and you have to spend it on marketing, transition costs and core operations, it leads us to believe that your organisation doesn’t know what it is doing on money advice.”
Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie said: “You may now realise the scale of the concern around this committee about what has been going on at MAS.
“The business plan is completely meaningless and only gives us a rudimentary understanding about what is going on. There is considerable unease about the way this money is being spent.”
Conservative MP Jesse Norman also criticised the MAS business plan for not being clear about its objectives.
Rookes, who took over the top job in January, defended the organisation and said it has turned itself around since last year and is now performing well.
She said: “I know there was a lot of concern about the MAS and what it wasn’t doing. I think it has a good business plan and we published results for the MAS performance last year and it was good. It is an organisation that is performing well. There is a long way to go but it is going in the right direction.”