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Mas to launch £7m fund to help consumers

Mas to launch £7m fund to help consumers

The Money Advice Service has launched a new fund of up to £7m in support of the UK financial capability strategy aimed at helping people get to grips with their finances.

In October 2015, Mas launched its 10-year financial capability strategy, in partnership with the UK Financial Capability Board, to help people engage more with money matters affecting them.

Now, Mas’ What Works Fund will be available to organisations to help them pilot new approaches to improving financial capability and evaluate their projects.

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It will provide financial support for projects which are focused on building evidence of the types of interventions that can make a difference to people’s finances.

As well as helping fund pilot projects, money will also be available for scaling up existing programmes which have already demonstrated results.

Mas is encouraging organisations to complete an expression of interest form by 8 July.

Chief executive Caroline Rookes said it is vitally important to evaluate which interventions work best so that we can channel our efforts in the right places.

“This will help organisations from across the sector to fund and deliver interventions that we know make a difference to people’s financial capability. It will also help to provide the new money guidance organisation with information needed to commission effective services from day one.

“This is an important step on our journey to achieve our wider aim of improving everyday money management and financial capability across the UK.”

John Stirling, chartered financial planner at Walden Capital, said: “I think this is a brilliant idea. One small, tiny, almost churlish caveat. Mas haven’t put £7m aside. I have. Along with every other regulated adviser in the UK. Mas is paid for by a levy on me and my fellows. I don’t mind that it is out there claiming to offer free independent/unbiased advice/guidance. I can live with that. They are providing a good social service, and are a force for good.

“On the other hand having them spend my money without any accountability, or referencing the fact that it’s my money is a little annoying. I’m afraid it smacks firmly of ‘ooh look, we’ve got £7m left. If we don’t spend it we’ll have a smaller budget next year, what can we spend it on?’.

“By all means, if I’m wrong and this money comes from another source then I will stand corrected, and applaud, as the idea is great. But this is mission creep, and if it’s my money I’d like to have been asked. Otherwise it’s a bit rude.”

ruth.gillbe@ft.com