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MPs to probe financial inclusion

The Treasury select committee is to investigate how financial inclusion is promoted by the Government, the FSA and other organisations.

The inquiry will take place in the first half of nest year and will consider access to banking services and affordable credit, financial education along with access to financial advice and barriers to saving for people on below-average incomes.

It will also assess the benefits of financial inclusion and the extent to which measures can contribute to alleviating poverty and reducing barriers to employment.

The committee will look at the role of the FSA, Department for Education and Skills and others in promoting and supporting improved financial education in schools, other educational institutions and the workplace. It will also analyse the provision and regulation of generic financial advice about debt and savings.

In terms of incentives and barriers, the inquiry will look at the operation of the Government’s Savings Gateway Accounts programme, the impact of the Basic Advice Regime in encouraging saving and the extent to which decisions on saving are influenced by regulatory factors as opposed to State benefits.

Cicero Consulting director Iain Anderson says: “This will give the TSC the opportunity it wants to quiz the FSA on its progress on financial education. We are already seeing strong interest from life companies and asset management firms in wanting to respond to this inquiry and engage in the debate.”

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  1. The principle barriers to saving for people on below-average incomes are that they either don’t have any spare money to save or, if they do, they spend it on stuff like 50″ TV’s, Sky sports subscriptions, £60 p.m. mobile phone contracts and fags and booze.

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