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Call for govt to improve young people's financial resilience

Call for govt to improve young people's financial resilience

A group of cross-party parliamentarians have called on the government to ensure every child is equipped to navigate critical financial decisions in later life, starting at primary school.

The parliamentarians have written to the prime minister to highlight the need for every child to have the tools to develop skills and behaviours necessary to make good financial decisions.

The letter states that “the gap in our education system has left our children unprepared for the real world, and we must act quickly to combat the national financial capability crisis, which has been even more devastated since Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis.” 

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It goes on to say that this increased economic uncertainty has had huge consequences, with many young people now turning to payment schemes such as Buy Now Pay Later to afford essential items.

Parliamentarians argue that the worsening crisis highlights the “urgent need to equip the next generation with the financial literacy skills they will need later in life".

These calls for early intervention financial education follow research by the Money and Pensions Service which found that money habits form as early as seven years-old, making primary-aged financial education an important means to improve financial capability and financial literacy in the UK.

Research by The Centre for Financial Capability found that only one in five primary-aged children have access to financial education at their school.

Parliamentarians are therefore calling on the prime minister to implement three key recommendations:

  • Ensure every primary aged child receives an effective and high-quality financial education by 2030.
  • Use unclaimed assets set to be unlocked from the saving and investment sector to fund the development and delivery of financial education in primary aged children.
  • Give teachers access to resources and support they’ll need to deliver financial education.

This letter follows a parliamentary drop-in event coordinated by financial education charity The Centre for Financial Capability. 

The event, called the Financial Education Summit, takes place today (March 29) and is held in the House of Commons.

At the summit, financial education charities and parliamentarians will come together to show their support for greater financial education early intervention across the UK.

John Penrose, MP for Weston-Super-Mare said: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a significant effect on our young people and it is crucial as parliamentarians that we use every tool available to us to ensure we can support them to build better financial resilience to protect against future economic crises.”

Penrose added: “Financial education is the key to elevating young students, and with them, levelling up our country. Equipped with the right tools, young people can start understanding and managing money with positive habits that will serve them all their lives.”  

The Centre for Financial Capability said the event presents an opportunity to highlight the benefits of financial education from a young age and what actions can be taken to ensure all children have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to have a good financial future.

Stewart Perry, director of The Centre for Financial Capability, said: “It is clear more must be done to increase the UK’s financial literacy rates and wellbeing, which is more important than ever given the current cost-of-living crisis.”

He added: “As adult money habits form around the age of  seven, we believe an ounce of ‘prevention’ really is worth a pound of ‘cure’.