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Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 (Naming and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Neville-Rolfe Baroness Neville-Rolfe Conservative 5:45 pm, 1st May 2019

My Lords, this statutory instrument is about a name change, which of course I support. I am glad to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, of the distinguished new chair of the service, and the management team. I also commend the DWP—a role model for the Treasury on this, and I am delighted to hear that the Treasury and the DWP are working together—on estimating the costs involved. These are mainly the costs of communication. I have been glad to see the use of social media in this area; I encourage noble Lords to look up @MoneyPensionsUK. There needs to be much more of this, and a more comprehensive Q&A on the website on the issues that this body is set up to care about, communicate and deal with. Obviously, the willingness to listen is most welcome, but this is an area where good communication can help people keep out of trouble if they get it at the right time.

In our society, people do not know or learn enough about how to manage money or about the importance and value of pensions. Good, simple teaching and guidance are essential if debt is to be avoided and managed. People are slow to understand what a good deal pension saving represents because of the add-on that is provided by employers and the system. So a key need is to deal with finance, debt and pensions in the school curriculum—principally in the maths curriculum, as few people understand the basics of compound interest. Indeed, teaching should also be done by youth services, through which some of the most socially excluded end up being taught life skills. Training could also be given to social services to help those preparing for retirement, those leaving the military, ex-offenders and perhaps—to hark back to our discussion in Questions earlier today—those moving to universal credit.

Of course, charities can help, as the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, explained. However, I would welcome any thoughts or information from the Minister on the curriculum and on training and how this might form part of a comprehensive approach to these issues, which I think represents a quiet and important revolution.