Advice for applicants

Part of Savings (Government Contributions) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:45 am ar 1 Tachwedd 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 9:45, 1 Tachwedd 2016

I totally accept that point. I suspect that some of us on the Committee would put ourselves in that category, casting their mind back over the years. The point is that the regulatory landscape today is very different from what it was; the hon. Member for Luton North made that point in one of our debates last week.

The Government are fully committed to providing advice. The Treasury sponsors the Money Advice Service, which has started to play a greater role in co-ordinating financial education programmes in schools. We have seen a lot more progress on that. We have the 10-year financial capability strategy, led by the Money Advice Service and supported by industry, which aims to improve financial capability across the nation. We see many different bodies going into schools and working with young people. There is always more to do, but I genuinely think that we are looking at a very different landscape from that of some decades ago. While we would never be complacent, that is why we want to take all the measures that I have mentioned to provide advice and information.

We have to find a balance in ensuring that people can access accounts that could greatly benefit them and their family. It is worth reiterating that with Help to Save, people’s money is not locked away. If individuals change their mind or decide the scheme is not for them, they are free to close their account and withdraw their savings, free of charge. I want to end with that reminder. We have designed the product with maximum flexibility in mind for a group of people whose current financial exclusion we should be ashamed of as a nation. We want to do something about that.