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New Financial Advisory Service Launched In North Of England

Oct 9, 2007
Consumers in the north-west of England are to receive new guidance on loans and other areas of personal finance, it has emerged.

Starting today (September 17th), the scheme will provide residents in the region with access to independent financial advice face-to-face, by phone or via the internet. The trial is to last for three months, will be funded by the government and run by Consumer Direct. For the duration, the project will aim to help consumers create a budget and plan their outgoings.

Once over, findings from the trial will be contributed to the Independent Review into Generic Financial Advice, headed by Aegon chief executive Otto Thoresen, which looks to improve the nation's capacity in managing their finances. In addition, it will look to supply people with the confidence to deal with loan lenders, building societies and other financial services providers.

Meanwhile, those worried about their ability to manage their finances - which could include concerns on being able to pay back personal loans and credit cards - will also be able to visit Citizens Advice branches in Bolton, Barrow, Chorley and Allerdale, get information from government-run websites or call a specialist helpline. Consumers will also be guided towards other portals which will help them to make more informed choices about handling their money as part of moves to improve access to generic advice for members of the public, particularly for the financially excluded.

Christine Cryne, director for Consumer Direct at the Office of Fair Trading, said: "Consumer Direct has a proven track record in providing clear, impartial and practical advice. Working together with our partners, we hope to offer callers a really useful service and provide the Thoresen Review team with some valuable research material."

Meanwhile, Phil Ashcroft, head of Trading Standards at Cumbria county council, added: "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."

As a result of such moves, an increasing number of Britons could have greater access to competitively-priced loans. Writing in the Guardian earlier this year, former home secretary David Blunkett and Kate Green, chief executive for the Child Poverty Action Group, claimed that the government and financial service providers need to do more to help the three million adults unable to access mainstream forms of credit. The pair stated that those who are barred from such types of borrowing are forced to take out a personal loan attracting a high rate of interest, ask for financial aid from the government's social fund or seek credit from unscrupulous lenders.

As a result, it was suggested that by increasing access to competitively-priced loans Britons will be able to develop a financial system "that enables and empowers" as it would give them greater independence in managing their money and will allow them to be able to plan their outgoings more effectively and save cash for the future. Mr Blunkett and Ms Green added that such moves would help loan lenders and other financial firms "fulfill a significant social responsibility" to the poorer sectors of society.
About the Author
Steve Smith writes for the 1 Stop Finance Shop where you can apply online for debt consolidation loans. We specialise in all sorts of personal loans, and secured loans with online application.
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