Finally politicians have cottoned on that people have had enough of being shafted by the banks. Not being a political hack I’ve twice been surprised this week to be handed manifesto exclusives. No doubt as they knew I’d be a cheerleader having long campaigned for these issues….
On Friday I was offered details of Labour’s key consumer finance election pledges, which appreared in the News of the World on Sunday and the site’s manifesto targets unfair charges news story.
For me the most important one is the PM prioritising legislation for compulsory financial education in schools, which was scuppered at the last minute this week. We’re a nation that’s educated our youth into debt, but never about debt. That must end.
Last week Nick’s Clegg’s office were also in touch to say he’d put unauthorised bank overdraft charges at the centre of his manifesto, including the payback of unfairly snaffled PAST charges too – see the Lib Dems put bank charges at the centre of their manifesto news story.
Labour manifesto also looks at this, promising to make the finance regulator make firms behave right from the start, not wait till problems surface. It’ll also give the 1.75m without bank accounts a right to them, helping some escape the black economy. Plus I’m loving the ‘portable bank account number’, a boon that should keep current accounts competitive.
A clever way to impact the pound in people’s pockets
It was Bill Clinton who said elections are ‘all about the economy, stupid‘, yet with our current economic state there’s much disagreement about what would actually make a difference. So the benefit of acting on the economy is diluted because there’s such huge disagreement over what’s best (cutting spending to reduce debts v. keep spending and increase taxes to keep the economy riding along).
So with these policies the politicians are cleverly shifting the focus on to people’s micro-finance where cause and effect are more closely linked. Whether it’s bank charges, reducing the cost of getting credit files, or financial education in the long run, all these directly impact people’s pockets. I can’t disagree with this, much of what’s being said is in the MSE consumer manifest}launched last year – where I berated the fact politicians focus on the big issues for legacy not the ones they can actually change. Maybe the worm is turning?