Our Policy & Research Work
Our policy and research work complements our main objective of directly helping young people and adults stay on top of their money. It keeps the profile of financial education and financial capability high on the agenda, and influences policymakers and regulators.
We focus our policy work on six key areas:
- Financial Capability
- Credit and Debt
- Financial Inclusion
- Student Finance
- Tax and Benefits
- Financial Regulation
As we believe everyone should develop the skills to manage their money effectively, financial capability is a central policy theme for us. Government’s decision to make financial education a compulsory part of the national curriculum from September 2014 is a major step forward in this respect (read our Q&A about financial education in the curriculum).
However, we also think that support should be available to people throughout their lives as their needs change and grow, and the way in which this is delivered is hugely important from our perspective.
Low levels of financial capability can also increase the risk of someone getting into unmanageable debt, and undermine efforts to promote financial inclusion, so our policy work also encompasses these areas.
Robust financial regulation is important as well, by ensuring that the market for financial products operates fairly and transparently, and enables consumers to make informed decisions about their money.
The way in which student finance works frames the way that many young people approach one of the first major financial decisions of their life, and we therefore feel that the way in which it operates should promote positive financial behaviour. We want to see student maintenance payments made monthly, not termly, to reflect the world of work (and rental payments).
Finally, the tax and benefits system has a big influence on how people engage with their money, so it’s vital that people understand it and that it works in a way that supports good money management. The rollout of Universal Credit, for example, means people have to take greater ownership of their money, and claimants will need support to adapt to these changes. Some tax changes also affect people’s money management, such as the decision to reclaim high earners’ Child Benefit through the tax system, which will increase the number of people in the self-assessment process.
From the school curriculum to pensions, we regularly engage with government departments, regulators, and other organisations on a wide range of issues through consultation responses. Our focus is on ensuring that policies support people to manage their money, prevent them from getting into financial difficulty, and help them if this does happen.
We also produce a monthly document of the latest statistics around debt and personal finance – The Money Statistics. These are widely used by regulators, trade associations, the media and the third sector, and provide lots of useful information about the current situation in the UK.
We are developing our policy in each of the above areas in greater detail, as well as undertaking more research to highlight the importance of staying on top of your money. If you want to find out more, please contact us.