The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby this week announced plans to make it easier for consumers to find guidance on key financial matters.
Plans are afoot to create a new public body for financial guidance which will be responsible for providing advice and guidance to the public on matters such as debt, money and pensions. Essentially, it will combine the roles of the Money Advice Service, Pension Wise and The Pension Advisory Service (TPAS) although these three services will continue to operate until the new organisation is up and running.
Initially the government had preferred a two pronged approach which involved combining TPAS and Pension Wise whilst replacing the current Money Advice Service with a more focused, streamlined service. However, it was decided that this may not be the best way forward and one combined body would provide a better service.
Speaking about the new plans, Simon Kirby said: "We strongly believe that creating one public guidance body is the best way of making it as easy as possible for people to access the help they need to get their financial questions answered."
However, Gillian Guy, chief executive of charity Citizens Advice wasn't quite as positive and warns that the government needs to carefully consider how the new body will work. She says: " What's best for consumers needs to be at the centre of the changes to public financial guidance. It is important that there is a holistic approach to guidance and debt advice offering the opportunity for money, debt and pensions services to be interlinked so as to address people's financial queries as a whole. "
"Government could also consider how guidance could be offered at key stages of people's lives – such as starting a new job or having a baby – so people get their questions answered when their finances change."
There is no news so far as to how long it will take to implement the new body and a consultation to start the whole process will be launched shortly and is expected to run into the new year.