Skip to main content

Financial Literacy

Volume 615: debated on Monday 17 October 2016

12. What steps he is taking to increase financial literacy and money management skills among people in receipt of benefits who are in debt. (906588)

We are committed to battling financial exclusion. Under universal credit, through universal support, we are working with partners to help claimants manage their finances and avoid debt.

Sixteen million adults have less than £100 in savings, with younger adults, larger families and single parents most at risk of struggling with their personal finances. The all-party group on financial education for young people, which I chair, has, supported by Young Enterprise, concluded that people need better money management skills in life. What steps is my hon. Friend taking to increase financial education and money management skills for young people and those in receipt of benefits?

I commend my hon. Friend for her work with the all-party group, which has been particularly effective. In jobcentres, the first work search interview provides the opportunity to identify barriers, including financial capability. Under universal credit, personal budgeting support can be offered in partnership with jobcentres, local authorities and other local service providers.

I thank the hon. Member for Fareham (Suella Fernandes) for asking that very important question. The new Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, of which I am a member, highlighted that it is so much harder to recover from mental illness if one is in debt. Adults with mental health conditions are three times more likely to be in debt than adults without mental health conditions. What specifically is the Minister doing to ensure that people with a mental condition who are in receipt of benefits and in debt are supported appropriately?

The most important thing we do is work in partnership at a local level with mental health organisations such as Mind to increase understanding of jobcentre operations on these issues, as well as to extend help to individual claimants. It is very important to understand the full range of barriers and challenges that somebody may face.