I’m still buzzing after yesterday’s Commons launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on financial education, which MoneySavingExpert (MSE) and Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG) are joint backers of. So many MPs turned up to support us, many sharing a passion for getting financial education on the curriculum, meaning we may actually have a chance at pulling this off.
The full blog content is after this video.
Picture a small room, crammed to the rafters, with politicians coming in and out. It’s by far the biggest APPG launch anyone can remember. We think we’ve got 150+ MPs signed up (full list soon). So many came saying that it was because, "I received lots of emails from my constituents", so a huge thanks to the MoneySavers that told MPs about it and made them want to get involved, we needed it.
As well as speaking (ranting) at the event (watch it at the top), I was also there to have my photo taken with the MPs (or in truth vice-versa). This is a standard system, apparently when an MP joins an APPG to show their support they get a pic of the event for their local paper to show what they’re doing, so they had it with me.
It was quite bizarre to see a queue of MPs waiting for a hand shake and a snap, even famous names like Sir George Young, Stephen Timms and Simon Hughes were waiting at some point.
Yet it was also an incredible opportunity. It was almost like a speed dating set up, but for politics. I got a minute or two with each politician and had so many worthwhile chats along the way, from student finance to regulation of home heating fuels. I learned a lot about good campaigns from politicans of all sides of the house and many which MSE will try and get involved in.
Then onto the speeches, first was Justin (Tomlinson, MP,) who’s done a brilliant job pulling this all together.
(Quick aside – earlier in the day, during the radio interview we were doing after I’d said, "its been 20 years since student loans launched and it’s a disgrace we’ve educated our youth into debt and never about debt", the presenter turned to Justin and said, "why’s it taken you so long to do something about it?", his answer, "I only got elected eight months ago", that ended that pretty quick).
Justin spoke about the great range of support from the big banks, to credit reference agencies, Which?, Citizens Advice, British Youth Council and even the likes of Wonga.com and then explained what happened next.
After that it was Wendy the head of PFEG, the other key supporting group. She spoke about the current financial education in some schools and the worry it’s patchy, inconsistent and absent in many places and that we need compulsion and consistency. She then discussed how we do that. (See Justin Tomlinson MP and Wendy van de Hendeâ€™s (pfeg) speeches on financial education).
I closed the speeches with why this issue is so crucial and why the challenge was to ensure that with tuition fees trebling and some students to be charged commercial rates of interest, we must ensure not one of them takes these loans out without understanding how to work and how to borrow (you can watch it at the top).
The next step is we all start meeting to try and work out how we actually get this on the curriculum in a way that doesn’t overburden teachers and makes it interesting to kids.
I’d love your views on this (or any of the above).