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Citizens Advice calls for "urgent reform" of financial inclusion

17 November 2006
The Treasury select committee's report on financial inclusion has recommended the creation of a national body to provide financial advice to people on low incomes.

The national body would strengthen the financial capability of those on low incomes, ensuring that they are not excluded from independent and reliable financial advice.

Consumer charity Citizens Advice welcomed the proposal, calling for "urgent reform" on access to money advice, which policy director, Teresa Perchard, described as "absolutely essential, particularly for those in debt".

Too many of those eligible to receive help from the government's social fund currently suffer from a "lack of awareness and understanding", she said.

Citizens Advice dealt with 1.4 million debt problems last year and expects the figure to rise over the next twelve months.

Meanwhile, Sue Regan, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation, which promotes financial inclusion, said the report strengthened the "consensus" around the need for a national financial advice resource.

In a speech in October, treasury minister Ed Balls said the government's forthcoming ten-year strategy on financial capability would focus on a more comprehensive and preventative approach to financial advice.

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