Bingo! There’s a politician out there as obsessed with getting financial education in schools as I am. After noticing he’d been asking questions in the commons about it last week, I met up with Justin Tomlinson, one of the new intake of MPs.
The meeting was buzzing from the get go. Very quickly we realised we were singing from a similar song sheet (see my financial education editorial for my arguments on why it’s so important), so we moved straight onto brainstorming ideas. Along with MSE Archna and his researcher Rachel, we were flick-flacking concepts across the table at speed.
New All Parliamentary Financial Education Group
Most importantly this ISN’T a party political issue for him. While he’s the Tory MP for North Swindon (see the Justin Tomlinson MP site), he’s tackling this as an individual and wants to set up an ‘All Party Group‘ (APG) to support compulsory financial education.
APGs are informal bodies within the commons, which can be actioned if there are over 20 MPs supporting it. As the name suggests, it’s where politicians from all sides of the political divide support and work on a common goal.
This this is the best news I’ve heard since financial education fell on the sidelines at the last minute before the general election. It’s been a real struggle to get any time or interest from the Education Secretary Michael Gove on this, so to gather the backing of a group of MPs is crucial to getting this back high up on the political agenda.
I’ve always kept MSE clear of party politics before and want to continue to do so. Yet this is an all party group, so I’ve offered that the site will contribute funds (where appropriate) to cover the expenses of the group (ie, any photographers, press needs, teas and coffees for meetings etc), as well as any research issues we can help with. After all, this is a defining issue in what MoneySavingExpert.com stands for.
Help get your MP on board
When the group is up and running, I will be including a note on it in the weekly email and asking people to contact their MP to ask them to support it, as we need the politicians to realise how crucial this is.
Having done polls on the site on this, it’s a no brainer. 97% of people voted that we should have this in our schools (see financial education poll), so it’s an easy win for politicians to come alongside us.
Even if they’re just willing to stick their name to it, rather than get actively involved, that’s an important step. The more supporters the greater the draw at meetings, and the more the front benchers will realise this is an important issue.
Of course this isn’t just about the APG, we came up with a bag of other ideas to publicise and push the campaign on to the main agenda too, so fingers crossed this is another crucial marker.
Related MoneySaving News Storys:
Full list of all financial education news stories
Related Past Blogs:
Danger Money Lessons May Get You Thumped
Compulsory Financial Education Part II
Meeting at No.10 with the coalition (fin ed on the agenda)
Is today the beginning of the end of debt illeteracy
Meeting Ed Balls about Financial Education
Related MSE Guides