We desperately need better financial education for young people in the U.K. This week, alongside fellow interested MPs, I began a new inquiry into financial education for young people in care. These young people are expected to entirely manage their own affairs upon leaving the care system, but without the same family support other people have. We heard evidence on where there is good practice but also many of the problems too. At present, there is no obligation to even ensure young people leave care with a basic bank account. We’ll be holding further evidence sessions in the near future and writing a report for publication later in the year.
In a heated exchange at Treasury Questions this week, I asked what the government’s strategy is for tackling the outrageous levels on in-work poverty now prevalent in our country. The Minister mumbled an inadequate reply and I remain unconvinced that there is a plan at all to make sure that work pays and that families in low paid, part-time or insecure work are not left unable to meet bills or queuing at foodbanks. You can watch here.
Also in the Commons, I spoke on behalf of the Labour Party after the Government pulled the Financial Services Implementation Bill. The House of Commons was set to debate this important legislation which would attempt to tackle tax avoidance. Quite simply, ministers postponed the debate because they thought they would lose the votes on amendments proposed by other MPs. I had worked with colleagues on these, including on one which would prevent a regulatory race to the bottom allowing dodgy dealing to become common place should we crash out of the European Union without a deal. You can see my frustration that Parliament didn’t get to discuss this here.
It was an honour to address the 150th anniversary celebration of the Building Societies Association. When people describe to me what they want from local banks they are often basically describing building societies- ethically driven, promoting respond saving, member led. Building societies have helped so many constituents own a home, so it was an invitation I was more than happy to accept.