§ Ms Walley
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on progress since 6 November 2002 on a strategy for a national financial advice network and the extent to which(a) credit unions and (b) friendly societies can play a part in the process of providing advice to the financially excluded from. 
§ Ruth Kelly
It is important that everyone should have access to appropriate financial education, information and generic advice to understand his or her options, as well as having access to regulated product specific advice where appropriate.
We have noted the proposals for a new network to provide financial education, information and generic advice, with interest. Many organisations are already involved in the provision of those forms of help.
I welcome the work the Financial Services Authority (the FSA) is undertaking to look at the feasibility of a new tool to help deliver consistent, high quality, interactive generic help for those who need it. We also welcome the work the FSA will be doing to develop a more general strategy for consumer education, information and advice. We understand they plan to consult on this in the summer of 2003.
All financial services firms can support the provision of advice to the financially excluded.