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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 6:30 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Buscombe Baroness Buscombe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 6:30 pm, 1st May 2019

I thank my noble friend for her point, which is so well made. One reason I am so pleased to have this debate is that it helps, in a sense, to put more pressure on those taking this forward to look a little harder and further at what more we can do to develop financial capability. Yes, as raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Janke, there is always an issue with regard to squeezing this into the curriculum but of course this makes absolute sense, as so many noble Lords said during the passage of the Bill. Many thanks to my noble friend for pushing that point a little further. We need to ensure that we can start the process of education by informing people, when they are as young as possible, about planning for their future; that is, in terms of pensions but also in managing their money. Great work is done by charities, but I am sure it will also be done by MAPS.

The most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York made an important point about exploitative lenders. While this is a matter for the Treasury, I can say that MAPS has ambitious plans to help people make informed decisions about their money—an app has been suggested. We are looking for ways to include this in the issues to do with Breathing Space. As I said, the Government will take forward plans on this in due course.

I am very aware of the time but I will say quickly that MAPS is due to publish the national strategy in the autumn, alongside its corporate plan. I also want to say something quickly on pension scams, which have devastating consequences such as the loss of an entire pension fund. That can leave victims without the means to fund their retirement. The Government are committed to implementing a ban on pensions cold-calling and created the powers to do this through the FGC Act. I am delighted to say that the ban came into effect in January 2019, making it more difficult for scammers to initiate pension fraud. Although the ban will have a significant impact on tackling scams, the Government do not consider it as a job done and we will continue our efforts to understand, and take action to prevent, pension fraud.

I think I have covered almost everything. There may be one or two other points that I have not included but I thank noble Lords for their contributions to this debate. It has been important and I feel proud to stand here to talk about the progress being made. I thank again the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, for giving me that opportunity. We are in a good place with setting up the right bodies and organisations to tackle some of these really important issues, which are close to all our hearts. I would like an opportunity in the not-too-distant future to tell noble Lords more.