HC Deb 17 November 2003 vol 413 cc522-3W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the Treasury's strategy for improving the level of financial literacy. [136757]

Ruth Kelly

Raising standards of financial literacy is an important part of the Government's wider strategy to reduce social and financial exclusion, and promote appropriate participation in the financial services industry, while tackling overindebtedness, and promote saving. Financially literate, confident, and independent consumers also spur firms to offer high quality, value for money products and services, and promotes effective competition.

A number of departments and agencies are active in achieving our ambitions. For example, we are the first Government to introduce a framework for Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) that provides for personal finance education to be taught throughout Key Stages 1 to 4 of the school curriculum.

We also work closely with the Financial Services Authority.

In his 2002 Review of Medium and Long Term Saving Ron Sandier suggested that the FSA should lead and coordinate further work in this area. Partly in response to those proposals, the FSA announced on 20 October 2003 the membership of their Financial Capability Steering Group. This group will bring together government, consumer representatives, the industry, the media, and the regulator to develop and implement a national strategy for financial capability.

The FSA has already delivered a great deal to help consumers and has fostered initiatives on financial literacy, working closely, for example, with the Personal Finance Education Group, which has undertaken valuable work on good practice I delivering personal finance teaching in schools. But the steering group announcement recognised that more needs to be done, to engage with and learn from the widest range of organisation.