Gavin Shreeve is Chief Executive of the ifs School of Finance
There is a burning issue with which the Tories could make hay in a way that is both traditional yet Cameronian. It is the policy announced by George Osborne the other week that if elected to Government, financial education will be taught in all schools. However it is crucial that this doesn’t go the way of so many eye-catching initiatives that create headlines yet fizzle out before the hard detail is confronted.
This issue is indeed reaching crisis proportions. The UK’s consumer debt mountain now breaches the £1.3 trillion mark and growing at the rate of £1m every four minutes. This figure translates to an average household debt in the UK of an astonishing £9,000 (excluding mortgages).
The Citizens Advice Bureau recently released figures to show that more than 5,300 people were seeking their advice about debt related problems every day. Government statistics released this month confirm there have been a record number of insolvencies in the last quarter. The implications for society at large are obvious – at the core of almost all of our social problems is the mismanagement of money due to financial ignorance.