From education to employment

Parliamentarians call for Government to improve young people’s financial resilience across the UK during Charity event in Parliament

piggy bank with money

Today a group of cross-party parliamentarians have written to the Prime Minister to highlight the need to ensure that every child in the UK is equipped with the necessary tools to develop the skills and behaviors necessary to navigate critical financial decisions in later life, starting at primary school. At an event in Parliament, organised by the Centre for Financial Capability, financial education charities and parliamentarians came together to show their support for greater financial education early intervention across the UK.

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.” 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 has found that money habits form as early as 7-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 suggests that currently only 1 in 5 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 was in collaboration with key UK financial education organisations MyBnk, RedStart and Young Enterprise, presenting a unique 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, tackling existing regional variations.

The event took place after Global Money Week, an annual global campaign calling attention to the need to ensure that, from an early age, young people have the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours necessary to make positive financial decisions. The theme this year was “Plan your money, plant your future”, focusing on raising awareness of an individual’s behaviour on their future, the environment and the society as a whole.

John Penrose, MP for Weston-Super-Mare said:

“I was delighted to attend The Centre’s drop-in event in parliament. 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.

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.”

Stewart Perry, Director of The Centre for Financial Capability said:

The Centre was delighted to convene some of the UK’s leading financial education stakeholders to visit parliament to discuss the huge benefits of financial education from an early age. 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.

As adult money habits form around the age of 7, we believe an ounce of ‘prevention’ really is worth a pound of ‘cure’. The Government must properly invest in financial education from an early age to ensure future generations are better equipped to handle economic instability and crisis.”

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