The first Generic Financial Advice pilot, part of the Thoresen Review, has begun in the North West of England.
The three-month trial will allow consumers to receive free impartial advice on financial services, either online, face-to-face or by telephone.
The service, delivered by Consumer Direct in partnership with Cumbria County Council, Citizens’ Advice and Agilysis, will aim to help consumers to budget and plan their finances, deal with financial service providers on an equal footing, and suggest avenues for customers to make more informed financial decisions.
Consumer Direct says the service will not aim to sell customers a product or service, nor will it pass customer details on to any financial service provider.
Customers wishing to access advice during the trial period can call a low cost number - 0844 581 1020 – visit Citizens’ Advice Bureaux in Allerdale, Barrow, Chorley or Bolton, or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk or www.a4e.co.uk.
Commenting on the launch, Phil Ashcroft, head of trading standards at Cumbria County Council, says: “Trading Standards Services in the North West are all too well aware of the impact that bad financial decision making has on the most vulnerable in society, and we are fully behind this project which has the real potential to help people make informed and considered financial decisions.”
The results of the pilot scheme will be used by the Thoresen Review to determine the most cost effective and appropriate delivery method for Generic Financial Advice. The Thoresen Review is expected to publish an interim report in the autumn, with a full report due for release in 2008.
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