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Mas says demand for its ‘advice’ rising rapidly

The Money Advice Service has stated that demand for money ‘advice’ through its service is up as it battles to regain credibility in the face of broad criticism, publishing new figures that show useage of the service has risen 8 per cent in the past year.

From April to September, the Money Advice Service said it helped almost 704,000 customers with their finances. Mas added that demand is up 8 per cent on the previous year and it now has 30,000 customers per week.

However, despite the rises the total number of consumers served over the six-month period represents only 37 per cent of its 12-month target of helping 1.9m customers.

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The service said its half-year results show it is helping customers manage their finances and develop good money management habits.

Around 88 per cent of people using the service said they would again which exceeds the service’s 75 per cent target, while 81 per cent said it provided them with the information they needed, ahead of the service’s 75 per cent goal.

Around 40 per cent of people using the service received an action plan, meaning 283,000 have been delivered so far against a target of 1m by March 2013.

The service is continuing to expand the range of action plans offered in the second half of the year to meet anticipated increased demand and remains committed to all its targets.

Over the summer a series of upgrades to the service has been undertaken. This has included changes to the website to create engagement leading to action, relevant material being offered based on user details, hundreds of new articles, more comparison tables and the introduction of webchat.

The most popular tools used by online users in September were the mortgage calculator, budget planner and the health check. And the most popular online downloads were on basic banks accounts, your pension and your retirement options.

Gerard Lemos, chairman at the Money Advice Service, said: “The service is making steady progress in tackling the country’s enormous advice gap. The long-term goal to make being good with money the norm remains.

“So we will continue to work hard towards our ambitious targets and develop the service to make sure it is in tune with people’s needs, provides action-oriented and sustained help and becomes better known for all life’s money matters.”