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Balls to boost national financial capability

17 January 2007
A national financial advice service will be created to give every Briton quick and easy access to reliable advice, economic minister Ed Balls announced yesterday.

Unveiling the government's long term financial capability strategy, Mr Balls told an audience at a children's centre in Hackney, London: "Financial products are complicated and there can be too much jargon … we should extend the benefits of generic advice to all consumers who need it."

The new service will aim to provide advice covering the range of products on the market, enabling consumers to make informed choices and select the mortgage, loan, or pension best suited to their needs.

The strategy is particularly targeted at lower-income citizens who may be at a higher risk of financial exclusion.

Consumer support body Citizens Advice welcomed the move: "This is a real chance to tackle the 1.4 million debt problems which poured into our bureaux last year," commented policy director Teresa Perchard.

But the British Bankers' Association was cautious, emphasising that the new advice service would need to "build on what's around" already, including advice offered at banks and building societies.

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