The Treasury has announced details of its financial inclusion programme which it says it aimed at addressing the barriers to accessing mainstream banking products and sources of affordable credit.
Chief secretary to the Treasury, Des Browne, says money from the Financial Inclusion Fund will be made available to support the new Financial Inclusion Taskforce campaign.
The campaign will attempt to raise awareness of the problem of financial exclusion among intermediary organisations such as charities and housing associations. It will also provide them with tools and training both to assist their clients to open bank accounts and to enable them to access affordable borrowing alternatives.
Once these organisations are equipped to provide appropriate support, the campaign will raise awareness of the benefits of financial inclusion amongst excluded people themselves, and will point them to sources of information and advice.
During the Financial Inclusion Taskforce Conference, held earlier today Des Browne has said: "Financial exclusion imposes real costs on individual s and their families - often the most vulnerable people in our society. That is why I am delighted to announce that funds will be made available so that these individuals can be supported by trusted intermediary organisations as they make important decisions about their finances."
The Treasury is putting £45m towards supporting an increase in the provision of face-to-face money advice and will be administered by the Department of Trade and Industry. Meanwhile, £6m will be used by the Legal Services Commission to pilot mechanisms of money advice outreach aimed at those who do not normally present themselves to debt advisers.
A further £3m will be provided to The Financial Inclusion Taskforce with which to pursue its objectives, including improving the knowledge base of financial exclusion issues. And £10m will be available to provide the necessary support to administer the scheme whereby, under certain circumstances, lenders could apply for repayment to be made by deduction from benefit where normal repayment arrangements have broken down, and the administration of the growth fund for third sector lenders.
Brian Pomeroy, chairman of the Financial Inclusion Taskforce, has added: “The Taskforce believes it is important to engage intermediaries who are in regular contact with, and trusted by, financially excluded people in order to stimulate demand for banking services and give them the support and assistance they need to help them access financial products."
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