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Government launches financial action plan

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Action to give people more support to tackle their money concerns has been unveiled by the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

The Financial Capability Action Plan sets out new measures to give people free advice and assistance to help them to better manage their finances. The action plan also makes further progress towards the FSA’s and the Government’s goal of helping people become better informed, better educated and more confident with money.

The key initiatives outlined in the plan include a £12 programme to deliver free advice on budgeting, money management and planning to help households across the North East and North West. It also includes support for personal finance education in schools.

The measures will help households facing money worries access a wide range of specialist help and advice, making it easier for families to get support from the £200m programme of debt and financial advice services funded by this Government.

Once in place the FSA one-stop shop will also direct people worried by rising energy bills towards independent sources of advice to save consumers money on utility bills.

Chief secretary to the treasury Yvette Cooper said: “Many families are feeling the pinch as a result of high fuel and food prices, and the impact of the credit crunch on mortgage lending. But when people are facing money worries they often don’t know where to turn. We need to make it much easier for people to get access to information, help and advice.

“The Government is also determined to do more to create an environment where people get personal finance education and information from the start of their lives to the end; helping them with money problems and supporting them at key points in their lives, for example moving into higher or further education, having a baby, or planning their retirement.”

Teresa Perchard, director of public policy at Citizens Advice, said: “We welcome the announcement of the pathfinder areas to provide generic financial advice in the north of England.

“Today more than ever before people need access to free, impartial financial information and advice so that they can plan for their and their family’s future effectively, and avoid risks of debt problems from over commitment and having limited savings.”

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