The Personal Financial Education Group pfeg hosted a fringe meeting at Labour conference to inform delegates about the success of the campaign to include financial education within the national curriculum.
Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of pfeg was joined by Mark Fiander from the Money Advice Service, Nic Dakin MP and Katie Emms who is a former chair of the Arun Youth Council.
Nic Dakin said this debate was about “enabling young people and adults to make the right decisions for them”.
Mark Fiander explained that there are 20 million people in the UK who don’t know where to go for financial advice. Many people who fall into financial trouble do so in order to ‘keep up’ with their friends and poor financial knowledge.
He added that in 2011 the Money Advice Service helped 1.3 million people and aims to increase this to 5.4 million by 2013.
Tracey Bleakley said that pfeg believes in giving all young people the skills and knowledge they need. She said pfeg has been working with schools for 12 years and has 40,000 teachers on its books within 8,500 schools.
She said the work of the All Party parliamentary group on financial education was crucial to getting the campaign message out in parliament and with 233 members; it is the biggest APPG in parliament.
Ms Bleakley is also pushing for financial education to be included in teacher training courses and argues that some schools should become centres of excellence in financial education. This would enable teacher leaders from these centres to go out and work in other schools, especially in areas of financial deprivation.
Katie Emms spoke about her work as a student and chair of Arun Youth Council who sought out financial education in her area.
“I felt strongly about this issue and decided to campaign locally”
“How can the next generation be able to help pick up the economy if they have no knowledge?”
As a student Katie said that spending money has become so easy for young people through internet shopping and mobile apps.
Tracey Bleakley said at this difficult economic time “the availability of credit especially for people who can’t afford it has never been so great”.
Nic Dakin MP indicated that Labour had to take the fight to the Conservatives on the curriculum to ensure financial education is included after the latest review.
Pfeg are also hosting an event at the Conservative conference.