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10 changes to make the Green Deal work update – have they listened?

10 changes to make the Green Deal work update – have they listened?

10 changes to make the Green Deal work update – have they listened?

The Green Deal is the Government’s flagship home energy efficiency scheme, sadly and also predictably, it has been a rather huge flop. The concept is great – you get money to improve your home, which you then pay for out of the savings on your energy bills. The problem is the system is far too complex and couched in the language of debt.

Around its launch in February 2013, I blogged on why it wouldn’t work and what needed to change to make it work. I sent this to the Government which promised to look at it.

In the last month we’ve seen the launch of Green Deal 2, and yesterday I was on Radio 5 Live debating it with Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey (download the podcast), so I thought it time to have another look at my recommendations and see if they still hold.

The good news is, about half of them have actually been adopted by the Government, and Ed Davey accepted this directly and said "we’ve been listening to what you and consumers suggested Martin". Listening by politicians is never a bad thing.

Before I start, just a quick message. This blog isn’t intended to put you off the Green Deal. My frustration is it has merit and should help millions, but its structure both psychologically and financially puts many off. Yet I’d still urge you to check it out. If you’re not familiar with how it works or want to see if it’s suitable, do read my Green Deal Mythbuster guide first – as the info below assumes some knowledge.

Here are the ten suggestions I made in early 2013, and updates in purple on whether they’ve been enacted.

  1. Don’t call it “The Green Deal"

    Most people are selfish actors. To interest them, you need to focus on what they gain from it, not the environmental benefit. So call it the “Home Improvement Deal”, or even a halfway house: “The Home Efficiency Deal”.

    Update: SEMI-HURRAH. The scheme’s still called the Green Deal, but the month-old newly relaunched element of the Green Deal is called the "Home Improvement Fund" – a much better name and it’s already been a far more successful launch. It’s effectively a cash giveaway of up to £7,600 per person for certain energy efficiency measures. Demand is up. See our Home Improvement Scheme info for help. On the radio yesterday the Secretary of State directly acknowledged this as a suggestion that originated here.

  2. Don’t charge upfront for an assessment

    £125 million of cashback is being pumped in to get this up and running; yet you will only know if you’re eligible for that by paying a typical £125 to get assessed. That’s a huge sum, and more than people are willing to risk.

    There has to be a way of factoring the assessment into the cost for people who do get things done. Of course, by having a paid-for assessment you get a self-selecting group of applicants who are less likely to be browsers and more likely to follow through, but I think it cuts too many out.

    A detailed pre-application web form (and phone service for those not online) that’s binding could do a similar job – giving both the assessor and home owner an idea if it’s likely to be of benefit to them.

    However at this point, I doubt that will change. So why not divert some of the proposed cashback money into free Government assessment vouchers, again with an online pre-assessment first?

    Certainly we’d be happy to distribute them from MSE at no cost, eg, 20,000 x £100 vouchers. This way, you may actually find you’ve a decent number of people who’ve used the scheme and have good things to say about it. (Of course, again, there should be a pre-apply form so only those who are likely to act get them).

    Update: Some improvement. There are a few geographic areas where there are free assessment firms. Also, as part of the Home Improvement Scheme if you get two qualifying measures (or solid wall insulation) you can get £100 cashback for the assessment. Overall though this is still a blocker for many people – they worry about one scenario where you could really lose out by paying for an assessment, not qualify for anything, and you don’t get cashback.

  3. Allow it to be repaid when you move home

    Many people fear having a Green Deal loan attached to their house, as it’ll mean no-one will want to buy their house. I think that’s overblown, as these insulation measures in themselves will make the house more attractive and thus more likely to sell. Yet that doesn’t matter – the fear itself is enough to prevent the scheme working.

    My suspicion is many new buyers will ask for the remaining Green Deal loan to be taken off the house price. However, it’d be far easier to simply say: “I’ll pay it off” to the new buyer.

    This is one reason having redemption penalties on these loans is just so silly. If people could simply use the cash to clear the debt when selling their home – at no extra cost – you’d mitigate this worry somewhat.

    Update: HURRAH. Two weeks before the scheme was relaunched last month, The Green Deal Finance Company removed the redemption penalties so you can now repay it when you move home.

  4. The loans should not have interest attached

    This was the one thing that made me truly despair when I read the Green Deal proposal. Why on earth make it an interest-charging loan? Many people are rightly debt-averse.

    It’s the student loan debacle all over again (once you understand it, it’s not as bad as you thought, but most people don’t get to the point of understanding it).

    While these loans are very different from commercial borrowing due to the golden rule that you shouldn’t repay more than you save, that just doesn’t cut it for most. They see the interest figure and say “no loan”.

    I accept there’s a cost attached to the financing. Yet even learning a trick from the sofa-sellers and charging more upfront – so that there’s no interest, just a fixed repayment based on that – would’ve made it easier for people to stomach.

    Update: No change here, sadly. I stick by my view. Making this a ‘debt’ is a bad move and puts off many who would want to do it.

  5. Not allow it to be sold door-to-door
  6. This risks lowering the reputation of any service when it’s sold this way. (In plain terms, sell it door-to-door and it makes many feel it’s dodgy or shoddy.) I know there are rules saying door-to-door Green Deal sales must obey “no cold callers” signs, but still, was it necessary to have it pumped out like this?

    One worry is salesmen showing up on the doorstep saying "I’m from the government".

    Update: This hasn’t been as big a problem as I predicted. I’d still prefer not to have it sold door-to-door but I don’t think it a major issue now.

  7. Standardised maximum pricing

    We don’t yet know how the assessors and installers will price, but many are worried they’ll pump up the cost in a way that negates the benefit of the financing in the first place.

    As this is a Government scheme, I’d think some form of price regulation on the 50 or so things you can have fitted within the Green Deal scheme, or even fixed prices, would give more confidence that you’re not getting ripped off.

    It’s worth remembering one of the new things the Green Deal lets you save on is double-glazing. That industry is haggle central – I’ve heard of cases of people being charged 10% of the original opening price for the same thing. It’s not good for the Green Deal if it falls into the same system.

    IMPORTANT UPDATE: For me this is the single biggest problem I hear about with the Green Deal. I am often being told people are being given quotes for work within the Green Deal wrapper at many times the cost of getting it done themselves. Effectively this just puts the Green Deal subsidy into the installers pockets.

    I asked Ed Davey on the radio to install maximum prices for different work, his answer is "we have encouraged more operators so we have competition" (my suspicion is that he probably doesn’t believe this himself but has to follow his coalition partners free market principles).

    This is a bit like saying there is competition for foreign currency at airports. True, there is, but they’re all massively overpriced as they know you’re a captive customer – and you shouldn’t use them. The Green Deal isn’t quite that bad, but it’s certainly far from good. I would strongly repeat that there needs to be price caps or (enforceable) reasonable pricing policies to make this work.

  8. If interest will be charged – let people know what it is

    The fact we don’t know the Green Deal interest rates yet, even after the scheme has launched, is ridiculous. Even once we do know them, they will vary with the length and amount of borrowing.

    People need to know even before having an assessment what this is likely to be. Firms need to publish their loan rates for different amounts (or do it via an online tool).

    Update: Interest rates are now public and typically between 7% APR and 11% APR, which isn’t that cheap compared to the cheapest private debt financing.

  9. Loans shorter than 10 years should be allowed

    Cavity wall and loft insulation will pay for themselves in a far shorter period than the effective minimum 10-year loan. So why are people forced to borrow longer? A golden rule of borrowing is to repay as quickly as you can, as it minimises interest.

    Update: No real change here. I still think there should be shorter loans available, though it’s not one of the biggest issues.

  10. No early redemption penalties

    People should always be allowed to pay off their debts earlier with no charge if they choose to. Full stop. End of.

    Update: SEMI-HURRAH. They listened, these have been scrapped for all new applicants, though not for those who already have the scheme.

  11. Centralised information and application

    To make this scheme work, it needs to feel official and authoritative. Some form of central call centre to give people official information before passing them onto a selection of reputable firms would give greater confidence (this may be being done, I’m not aware of it though), although I accept it would take some market forces out.

    Update: SEMI-HURRAH. There is now a central information number. Gov.uk lists the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234, or Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 where you can call for info, though they don’t pass you on to suppliers directly. There’s also a central search online for assessors, providers and installers.

Dear Chancellor – stop fighting the regulator, or make it stop fighting you!

Dear Chancellor – stop fighting the regulator, or make it stop fighting you!

Dear Chancellor – stop fighting the regulator, or make it stop fighting you!

My suspicion is there’s internecine warfare going on right now between the Government and the regulators.  If true, it’s damaging for Britain and makes me wish I could bang their heads together.

On the one hand, the Chancellor and the Government are proposing a raft of ideas to liberalise the financial services market and attempting to stimulate action. Whereas the regulators the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England are trying to restrict risk.

That means as a nation, we are expending effort, energies and money to take two steps forward, then two steps back.  All these conflicting policies do is leave us frothed up in a lather.

A few months ago, I blogged on the energy policy paradox. In that sector, both the Government and the opposition are trying to encourage switching. But their policies to decrease the differential between the costliest and cheapest tariff, and to effectively freeze prices, take away two of the main drivers for switching.

They need to make up their mind about what they want – fixed prices or a switching market.

Now we’re seeing a form of financial friction. I’m going to bash this out at speed, but hope you’ll get my point…

  1. Help To Buy 2 vs Mortgage affordability

    The Government is pumping money into Help To Buy 2, an insurance policy to encourage mortgage firms to lend to people who have limited deposits as part of its ‘Britain is a nation of home owners’ stance. While I personally have concerns about it pumping the housing market when mortgage margins are so high – SVRs are about 4% above base, compared to 1% pre-crunch – that isn’t my problem here (for more on that, see The UK’s mortgage ticking time bomb).

    At the same time the Chancellor is trying to pump people to buy houses, we have the regulator, the FCA, introducing its MMR criteria, which is cutting down on the availability and size of mortgages. Its big focus is putting the burden on lenders to ensure their customers’ mortgages are affordable.

    They want lenders to only lend to people who pass a stress test showing they could afford to borrow at 6% or 7%.  The net result of this – both because many lenders’ systems were not set up to do it and they’re therefore not so good at it, and because they are much more stringent criteria – is we are seeing multiples cut and borrowing becoming more difficult. 

    So what exactly are we trying to do? Pump the mortgage market and encourage people to buy? Or are we trying to restrict it? 

  2. Pension liberalisation vs financial services accountability

    The flagship announcement at the last Budget was the idea that from, 2015 anybody with a money purchase pension (a pension where you’ve built up a pot of cash) at the age of 55 will simply be able to take their money out (see my Pension changes are wonderful and horrid blog). The first 25% of the cash you take is a tax-free lump sum, the remainder will be taxed at your marginal income tax rate. 

    This is a radical change in pension policy and a real ‘freeing up’. It’s effectively the Chancellor saying it’s your money, you can do what you like with it so long as you pay tax on it. 

    Yet the regulator’s attitude says it’s all about responsibility, advice and information.  Pension companies will come under a huge burden in order to make sure people are doing what’s right for them.  The regulator, in a stance I have some sympathy with, wants to ensure that people don’t waste their cash, they don’t make bad decisions and they don’t leave themselves in the lurch. 

    One of the great concerns about this pension liberalisation isn’t the more highlighted fear that people will simply take their cash out and spend it on Porsches. It’s the concept that people will become so scared that they won’t have enough cash left in their later life that they will effectively live in penury in the early years –  not being willing to spend anything, living a cold baked bean pension even though they’ve got the money sitting there. 

    To truly work out how much you should be spending on the new system, you really need to know how long you are going to live for, and that’s a difficult question to answer. 

  3. Funding for Lending vs increased capital requirements

  4. For the last few years the Government has been pumping billions of pounds towards banks in order to try to get them to lend in the mortgage market and for small businesses.  The scheme, called Funding for Lending, has slashed savings interest rates because banks haven’t needed to get cash from savers, they’ve simply been dragging it in from huge Government coffers instead. 

    At the same time, both the FCA and the Bank of England have been requiring banks to keep more and more capital. This is far off my usual beaten track, and I don’t purport to be an expert in macroeconomic prudentiality, but in a nutshell, bigger reserves mean they can’t lend out the same amounts.

    So effectively we have Funding for Lending pumping money to the banks to lend out, but in reality, it’s just gone to help build their capital requirements.

It’s not about which policy is right, but the fact they conflict

In most cases my sympathies tend to lie more with the regulators’ stance than Government policy.  Yet that’s irrelevant.  What we need is a clear direction and the two to act in concert to make the market work. 

Yet you can almost hear the silent seething going on from both parties about what the other is doing.  This type of internecine policy making doesn’t help anyone.  

That leaves a big question. What do we do? Do we get rid of independent regulators so that Government sets the policy (which is a rather scary thought)?  Or, if not, do we have regulators that can control the policy being made by the Government?  It’s a very difficult circle to square.  Views welcome.

Mrs Thatcher’s funeral should set a precedent

Mrs Thatcher's funeral should set a precedent

Mrs Thatcher's funeral should set a precedent

Politics is a tribal game. Like football fans, supporters of each team often position themselves at odds with each other, even when differences can be intangible.

Therefore, when one of our country’s former Prime Ministers dies, that polarisation makes its difficult for our ruling elite to decide the appropriate treatment.

The problem here, what makes a "great Prime Minister", is both intangible and subjective. I am certain many believe Margaret Thatcher was a "great Prime Minister", while many others believe the polar opposite. 

Yet on electoral terms she had a superb record – although of course that’s matched by Tony Blair, so does this guarantee him similar treatment when his time comes?

The true measure of greatness will always end up being decided by history, yet that’s still opaque when so many making the decision knew the individual involved.

If you leave it to politicians, at the time of death, the risk is tribalism gets in the way, and this is no small decision as the taxpayer is spending a reported £10 million on the funeral (though a chunk being met by the family).

Indeed, if it went along party lines you’d risk it ending up with something like this…

  Former Tory PM dies Former Labour PM dies
Current Tory government Ceremonial funeral Lesser funeral
Current Labour government Lesser funeral Ceremonial funeral

And that’s before we even get into the idea of inner-party politicking.

So if we as a nation are going to provide a ceremonial funeral for Mrs Thatcher, isn’t it time we set up a precedent? The decision should be codified but can still be discriminatory, just not on party grounds.

It may be that the level of funeral honours is dictated by the number of general elections won – yet at least some guidelines and consistency would take the sting out of a contentious decision at a time of grief for those close to the individual.  

Thoughts?

The financial education debate – in full

The financial education debate – in full

The financial education debate – in full

Below is a cut and paste of the Hansard transcript of last week’s debate (source: Parliament). For those wanting a quick summary see my financial education debate – who said what blog, as the transcript below came from five hours of debate.

You can also watch a video of the session.

Read the full transcript

Financial education in the House of Commons – who said what

Financial education in the House of Commons – who said what

Financial education in the House of Commons – who said what

Proof 100,000 people can make a difference. Yesterday I spent five hours in the gallery of the House of Commons on the back of the e-petition many of you signed about putting financial education on the national curriculum. Time and time again the MPs referred to the signatures and the copious letters MoneySavers had written and it seemed to have impressed.

The key outcome was that the Education Minister Nick Gibb sat through the debate, listened and made the important commitment that the APPG Financial Education Report would be considered as part of the National Curriculum review. While this doesn’t guarantee anything it’s a big step forward in treating it seriously. 

I must admit to being impressed at the quality of the debate by the small but passionate group of MPs who were there for the debate (the problem with there only being a one line whip and a by-election). In many ways this is when parliament impresses, both sides of the house discussing together in a non-adversarial way and making many key points.

I hope to be able to get the text of the debate from Hansard and publish that here, but I thought I’d put the key points here and some of the most important and funniest quotes I managed to scribble down (no laptops allowed so it wasn’t easy).

One shocking stat that came up during the enquiry was that misunderstanding of basic concepts of APR are so rife, some students were even boasting about who had the highest APR loans – thinking that this made them better!

It’s worth noting there were a huge number of (well deserved) plaudits for Justin Tomlinson MP who chairs the all party parliamentary group and proposed the motion, and Andrew Percy MP who chaired the report writing committee.

Please forgive the scrappy nature of these notes
.

Justin Tomlinson MP – proposing the motion

Justin went through the history of All Party Parliamentary Group, the involvement of MSE and PFEG.

"I asked a question on this in Parliament and was approached by the Personal Finance Education Group who said, we’ve thirty more questions you can ask if you like.  I put those forward and was then approached by Martin Lewis who said, ‘you’ve asked some really pertinent questions can we speak about this.’  

"After that the three of us got together and worked out we need to do something more. And with the subtle persuasion of MoneySavingExpert’s six million email recipients we managed to get over 200 MPs on board and form the new All Party Parliamentary Group"

He then outlined the main report proposals, which due to my lack of note taking speed I’m reproducing here from the report’s summary…

• Personal finance education should be a compulsory part of every school’s curriculum.

• Resources produced by outside organisations and visits of providers to schools should be available
and accessible if considered helpful by teachers and quality marked by a trusted body.

• Primary teachers should build upon their teaching of basic money and mathematics skills from
an early age across the curriculum in preparation for secondary education.

• We welcome the Government’s current proposal to increase the minimum requirement of
mathematics GCSE to grade B for primary school teachers and encourage that it should be
adopted.

• It would be advantageous to use the opportunity of training days to refresh the mathematics skills
of primary school teachers, although we respect the right of the schools to provide training in a
way they feel is appropriate.

• Personal finance education should be taught cross-curricular in mathematics and PSHE secondary education
with the financial numeracy aspect of personal finance education situated in mathematics and
subjective aspects taught in PSHE education. It should be packaged in an obvious and clear way
to young people.

• Personal finance elements of maths should be clearly highlighted to emphasise how they relate
to real life decisions. If viable, the Government should implement the Smith Report and Maths
Review’s recommendation for the twin GCSEs: ‘Application of Mathematics’ and ‘Methods in
Mathematics’ to improve financial numeracy and ensure it is examined.

• PSHE education should be clearly defined into four separate strands, one of which should be
personal finance. Through reworking the PSHE education syllabus, more focused training and
assessment can be developed.

• A school coordinator, or ‘Champion’, should be appointed in each school, preferably from the
Senior Leadership Team. This ‘Champion’ should be given responsibility for ensuring that outcomes
are achieved across maths and PSHE education, ensuring there is a clear link between the
elements of personal finance taught in mathematics and PSHE education and for sourcing
resources.

The stat that really stood out on this was that "91% of people in financial difficulty think had they been better educated, they would’ve had less issues."

Jenny Chapman MP – seconding the motion

"Even more people are coming to surgeries with financial problems than ever before."

"We must think about the teacher training needed to get this to work, many teachers say they lack the confidence in this subject."

"It should be examined because it gives a sharper focus.  As one head teacher said in giving evidence ‘Unless you examine it, it won’t happen.’"

Nick Gibb MP – Education Minister responding

"Thank you for the balanced and passionate APPG report and the powerful advocacy from Justin, Andrew and Martin Lewis. The government is involved in two reviews; the National Curriculum and PSHE. The APPG report gives good insights and recommendations and we will look at it as part of the National Curriculum Review.  It is an important report – grounded in knowledge and data. There is huge enthusiasm for this. We will give careful consideration to it and all its recommendations."

"Young people are growing up in a materialistic world where they are not truly prepared." 

He then was especially impressed with the example calculations in the report that were real mathematics – this is a big part of government policy, the aim to improve numeracy skills. 

There were many interventions by MPs explaining that they thought the introduction of financial numeracy in maths would actually benefit maths itself, as with it being more tangible a subject it should retain kids’ interest better.

The outstanding quote for me – Yvonne Fovargue MP

Perhaps the one quote that stood out for me most, was from the always worth listening to Yvonne Fovargue MP. She ran a Citizens Advice bureau for ten years and when it comes to debt and money issues, she really knows what she’s talking about.

"When I ran a financial education project at my bureau, one of the side effects was an rapid increase in the number of parents who came seeking debt help. It seemed that the children were coming home and discussing the subject and it helped the parents realise there’s a problem. So if we do this we need to ensure there are enough debt help resources to make this work."

In itself this proves that financial education works, not just for the future but has an immediate beneficial impact on families too. It’s a great way to get the information out there. This echoes my own experiences of teaching the teen cash class in schools – where the kids went home and could save their parents money and in one case even took over the family budget.

Andrew Percy MP – Chair of the APPG report

A hilarious blockbuster opening from Andrew: "I’d promised the minister that unless he took the report seriously I would douse myself with petrol and set myself alight. Thankfully he’s here so that’s not needed. This is especially important because considering the current prices I couldn’t afford the petrol."

Andrew then explained that he was useless with money, had been in debt during his prior career as a teacher (he’s part of the new intake of MPs) and was still paying it off, and had only just got on the housing ladder. 

"I’m extremely proud of having been in the top set in maths in my inner city comprehensive and managed to get a grade C in maths GCSE, but I am still incapable of working out interest and APR."

He then explained that he thought this was perhaps the most important thing he’d contributed to since coming to Parliament. In a witty exchange he explained how he and Justin Tomlinson MP were the perfect pair to be doing this, as Justin (who he also shares a flat with when at Parliament) is extremely financially numerate (many good natured cat calls of ‘tight’), whereas he simply doesn’t understand how personal finance works.

He then made an eloquent case for how it’s important that we don’t assume even clever people should be able to understand finance without education before setting out the mechanics of how the APPG’s recommendations will work. His most important point was that this should be "teacher led", but should work within the current curriculum within maths and PSHE.

Many MPs on both sides mentioned their support for a double GCSE maths, (similar to there being English Literature and English Language) one in applied maths where financial numeracy would fit in and one in more theoretical maths. He also discussed the partial banning of calculators in primary schools to help develop better mental arithmetic.

He believes that the plans would not only help financial education but that it should encourage better basic numeracy. Plus, it would also help views of PSHE as if that’s there to support maths, it gives it more credibility. Then some stats:

"At 17 half of the people surveyed had already been in debt. 70% of 18 to 24 year olds were in debt. 90% of parents never discussed with their teens how to spend. The lack of financial education is costing £250m a year in bank charges alone.

The best of the rest

At this point I need to apologise to the rest of the MPs. With no short hand and no laptop my RSI meant two hours worth of notes were enough for me. So here’s some of the other contributions to the best of my recollection.

The shadow education minister Kevin Brennan MP strongly supported the concept – though questioned how it would be possible to make it compulsory considering the Government devolving responsibility to individual schools through academy and free school schemes.

Congleton MP Fiona Bruce has long been a supporter of financial education and spoke about it a year ago. She explained how it was being done in 20 other countries even including Zambia and how important it was that the UK didn’t fall behind.

Big political beast John Redwood MP made an intervention at one point just to say something like: "I want to congratulate my colleagues on this debate. I have had emails from three constituents urging me to attend and I want to express my support for this important issue."  I think that’s proof that MoneySavers emails to MPs had the right effect.

Andrew Bingham MP made a detailed speech. He was passionate on the subject of life skills having even once authored a free e-book to try and guide students when they stated uni. The most popular bit of it was the budget planner (see MSE’s free budget planner here).

While he accepted financial education wasn’t a cure, he said it should enable people to assess if something is a good deal for them and what the total cost is. "Education needs to move forward to protect us in our ever more dense financial jungle."

Eric Ollerenshaw MP was another former teacher supporting the concept (and another one who admitted he wasn’t much cop with cash). "I can’t remember ever being taught anything about financial education at school. I can’t remember anyone teaching financial education in my 27 years as a teacher. It needs to be included within teacher training."

Mark Garnier MP – a thorough speech from a former investment banker and member of Treasury Select Committee and the APPG enquiry committee. His main focus was how Financial Education could solve the problem of irresponsible lending to irresponsible borrowers. As someone who works on financial regulation, his view is education is a better and cheaper solution helping people make more informed choices.

Then Damian Hinds MP who was perhaps the only speaker who had any objections – though again supporting the concept in general. His view was that it wouldn’t work being taught as PSHE as kids don’t take it seriously and while it shouldn’t be on the curriculum he strongly supports it as part of maths – but big picture skills rather than specifics.

He had two main worries, the first that if the subject goes too much into products, by the time the kids are old most of that info will be out of date. He gave examples of endowment mortgages and cheques as things that are now no longer relevant. The second, the fact that he worries that talking too much about debt makes it ubiquitous and may actually encourage people more than prevent.

Andrew Percy intervened to explain that while big picture skills are there, teaching about how current issues work is a great way to learn about the future.

Duncan Hames MP spoke about Further Education colleges and the provision there. He heads up the APPG’s Further Education unit and they are taking evidence for a separate report on the provision there. He discussed how having it in schools would help the provision in colleges. Yet the problem in colleges is that just having it isn’t enough – the broad breadth of the curriculum there makes it a real challenge to get the provision where it works.

Oliver Heald MP spoke about the need for pension education too, though thankfully only for secondary schools. He is a member of the work and pensions select committee and talked about the need to educate people to be able to make choices when auto-enrolment comes and how financial education could help play a crucial role in that.

Simon Hughes MP who is also the higher education tsar talked about the important not just of educating for the medium and long term with debt, gas and electricity type issues, but of the instant need for short term info on apprenticeships, student finance and the immediate options for those aged 16 and above.

I do hope I haven’t missed anyone out  (I’m pretty sure I have – so I’m really sorry) or misrepresented anyone. Hopefully when we publish the full Hansard transcript that’ll make up for it. I’d like to thank the MPs for listening and taking seriously the views of the 100,000 people who signed the petition. Fingers crossed this is the start of actually getting this in schools.

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