22Aug

In its final Annual Report before it is replaced by the new Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB) later this year, the Money Advice Service (MAS) claims to have helped some 10.5 million people with their finances during the financial year 2017/18.

3.8 million of these people are said to be from “the financially squeezed and struggling segments” of society, and continuing the theme of assisting vulnerable consumers, the Service says it provided free debt advice to 487,000 people.

Three to six months after receiving debt advice via the MAS, half of funded clients with debt arrears are either repaying their debts or have repaid in full. The Service’s Standard Financial Statement, aimed at ensuring consistency of debt advice, has been adopted by some 1,000 debt advice organisations.

In conjunction with 90 experts, the MAS says it generated 240 new ideas to assist people facing financial challenges across the UK.

The press release announcing the release of the Annual Report also points out that the parties who pay the MAS levy – largely firms authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority – were invoiced £7.9 million less than was originally predicted in the Service’s expenditure budget.

The Report also contains some fairly sobering statistics about the financial health of the UK population, and firms in the consumer credit sector in particular would do well to note that:

  • 50% of UK adults (25.9 million people) describe paying their bills and credit commitments as a “burden”
  • In the last six months, 11% (5.7 million) have missed payments for credit commitments or domestic bills for a period of at least three months
  • 23% (11.9 million) would have no option but to borrow money when faced with an urgent and unexpected bill for £300
  • 44% of working age adults (17.3 million) have less than £100 in a savings account
  • 9% of adults (8.3 million) are in some way “over indebted”

Andy Briscoe, Chairman of the Money Advice Service said:

“All of this progress could not have been delivered without our partners and our staff, and their commitment to improving financial capability across the UK. Together we have helped millions of people to take control of their money, and so to lead happier lives. It is wonderful that this important work will be continued and developed by the SFGB.

“All those involved with these achievements deserve to feel proud of their contribution. However, I know they also appreciate that there is still so much to be done. The need for our services has never been greater, which is why we are delighted that the SFGB will be taking forward our vital work.”

Charles Counsell, Chief Executive of the Money Advice service said:

“This may be the last year for the Money Advice Service, but this report shows we are certainly not slowing down as we reach the finish line. A key achievement this year is helping almost half a million people receive high-quality debt advice: a transformation, not just in people’s finances, but in their health, their state of mind and their quality of life.

“Our focus for the coming year is to maintain momentum and to continue to deliver high-quality services for members of the public while working on a smooth and successful transition to the new SFGB. I believe the work the Money Advice Service has done has built strong foundations for the new body to provide free and impartial guidance, from pocket money to pensions, and to continue to transform financial capability across the UK.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article