Senior Tory urges providers to plug financial education gap

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Treasury select committee member and Conservative MP Mark Garnier has called on pension providers to do more in schools to promote savings education.

Speaking at the Conservative party conference in Manchester today, Garnier said he was comfortable with the idea of commercial organisations providing resources to boost the financial knowledge of young people.

Influential figures including Moneysavingexpert.com founder Martin Lewis have previously raised concerns about large firms using financial education as a way to promote their brands to school children.

But Garnier said: “I’m entirely happy with the fact that it is a very cynical marketing ploy and they want to get their brand logo in front of these kids so they can get more customers on board.

“But if they’re providing a really useful function at the same time then I have no problem with that.

“The same applies for pension providers, it’s the right thing to do for pension providers to go into schools and to support the financial education and say, ‘you might understand bank accounts and credit cards, but have you thought about your entire future, and this is why you save’.”

Garnier said such an effort would benefit both providers, who would gain new customers, and the country as a whole, by limiting the number of people relying on welfare provision at a later date.

He said: “If, from the moment you leave school and the moment you start drawing income, you’re utterly convinced that the right thing for you to do as an adult and as a citizen is to put money aside, then we’re well on the way to resolving all these problems.

“My appeal to the private sector is to work with your local areas and work on how to get into schools and deliver this message directly to the people who are going to have the best opportunity to take advantage of it.”