Budget  

Budget 2021: Govt sets aside £560m for numeracy skills training

Budget 2021: Govt sets aside £560m for numeracy skills training
  Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer

The government has put £560m towards a new financial education scheme to equip adults with numeracy skills to improve their employment prospects.

In the Budget and Spending Review today (October 27), the government announced the launch of a numeracy programme called Multiply to support employment opportunities and earnings for people.

Alongside the wider investment in skills, the government's UK Shared Prosperity Fund will fund Multiply.

However, Stewart Perry, head of responsible business at Quilter, said although the move was a step in the right direction, it did not go to the root of the problem.

“Improving the nation’s numeracy is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to levelling up,” he said. "There continues to be a severe lack of financial capability in the UK and the only answer is financial education. 

“Financial education is crucial if we want to equip young people with the skills to manage their finances effectively once they reach adulthood.”

According to the FCA’s Financial Lives Survey only 37 per cent of individuals feel confident managing money. 

“This can only be fully addressed by embedding positive behaviours and attitudes to money among primary school age children,” he added.

“This is because, like so many of our core attitudes and behaviours, the way we think about money is influenced massively by our childhood experiences.”

Perry said research has shown financial attitudes are shaped early on in life, around the age of 7, and urged that children need to get a grasp of the basics of financial prudence in primary schools.

“While improving adult numeracy skills is a sensible plan, we should be, as a matter of urgency, ensuring future generations should be equipped to be good with money."

He said an easy way to fund financial education lessons at scale in the UK was to redirect unlocked funds from the proposed expansion of the Dormant Assets Bill.

The scheme has already released around £750m to charities and social enterprises and is set to unlock an additional £880m in the coming years, he added. 

sonia.rach@ft.com

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