Nice to see a politician listening

I wrote in my ‘getting political’ blog a few weeks ago about how I’d had a half hour phone chat with Nick Clegg, the leader of the Lib Dems, about debt policy. I’ve often berated politicians for knee-jerk unpractical solutions that bear little resemblance to the realities people face.

So I was rather pleased today to see that the Lib Dems are now calling for proper financial education in Schools. I did perhaps over-rant about this in my conversation with Nick, but I think the door was already wide open.

I could nit-pick and say I don’t think it should be part of the maths curriculum, but standalone, and should go further than financial literacy: it should be consumer education. Yet either way, to have a political party willing to commit to it in the curriculum is great.

The Full Lib Dem press release is below. And for anyone interested in financial education see the full Teen Cash Class guide.

Comment and discuss

Young people must be taught financial literacy to tackle Britain’s debt addiction – Clegg

Financial literacy must become a comprehensive part of the maths curriculum to tackle Britain’s addiction to debt, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg will say today.

Speaking this afternoon to a Youth Parliament event in central London, Nick Clegg will warn the audience of young people that total personal debt has risen by £1 trillion since Labour came to power, with debt repayments equating to £3000 per second.

He will warn them that Britain is in danger of mortgaging their future, and that unless we act now, it will be their generation which suffers from the legacy of debt.

Liberal Democrat plans to address Britain’s personal debt problem also include:

  • Encouraging the BBC immediately to launch a campaign of public education through all its media channels, directing people to the appropriate advice and information to manage their finances.
  • A comprehensive network of free financial advice centres, funded 50-50 between the banks and the Government, to ensure everyone has access to impartial information and advice regarding extreme debt cases; issues around benefit and tax credits; pension advice and repossessions
  • A 4p cut in the basic rate of income tax, paid for by closing loopholes for the wealthy, in order to put money back in the pockets of struggling lower and middle income families

In his speech, Nick Clegg will say:

“One of the reasons why the economy’s in such a state at the moment is because of all this debt. It is our young who will inherit this legacy of debt.

“We’ve been addicted to debt, and now we’re having to go cold turkey.

“We must not hand on this addiction to you. Personal finance is enormously complicated – we can’t just imagine people will muddle through and magically understand APRs and SVRs and IVAs.

“As anyone hoping to go to University knows, our education system is very good at saddling students with debt – but rotten at educating them out of debt.”