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The Department for Business Innovation and Skills and HM Treasury jointly published in July 2011 Consumer credit and personal insolvency review: summary of responses on consumer credit and formal response on personal insolvency. In this, the Government announced that the Money Advice Service has agreed to take on responsibility for the provision and coordination of debt advice, with the aim of offering a coordinated, flexible and cost-effective solution to consumers’ debt advice needs from 2012-13 onwards.
The Money Advice Service (referred to as the Consumer Financial Education Body in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000) has a statutory function to enhance the understanding and knowledge of members of the public of financial matters, and their ability to manage their own financial affairs (“the consumer financial education function”). Section 6A of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 sets out this function. Paragraph (2) of this section specifies a non-exhaustive list of activities that are included in the function.
The Government today publishes an informal consultation on the proposal to clarify, as part of the forthcoming Financial Services Bill, the provision and coordination of debt advice as part of this list of activities which are included in the consumer financial education function of the Money Advice Service.
The informal consultation document is a letter seeking views on this proposal. The Government believes this clarification should be made in order to reflect the importance of debt advice as part of the Money Advice Service’s activities.