Page last updated at 20:17 GMT, Monday, 12 November 2012

Put financial education on the curriculum, says peer

Financial literacy should be a core part of the national curriculum so young people are taught the "fundamental concepts" of finance, a Conservative peer has said.

Lord Flight put forward an amendment to the Financial Services Bill on 12 November 2012 to require the new Financial Conduct Authority to work with the Department for Education to include financial education in the primary and secondary school curriculum.

He told peers: "For the long-term the biggest thing to do is to achieve a situation where at least the next generation understand finance, at least not in all its intricacy but understand the fundamental concepts: what is a mortgage, what is a pension, what is debt, what is equity, what is a student loan, what is compound interest?"

Lord Flight said his parents' generation was taught about finance, recalling how his mother was "equipped pretty much for the rest of her life" because of what she learnt in her teenage years.

Liberal Democrat Lord Philips of Sudbury, president of the Citizenship Foundation, said he agreed with the "broad thrust" of Lord Flight's argument, although he was not that the amendment addressed the issue in the right way.

He said governments of all persuasions "persistently fail" to give young people the chance to be citizens "with sufficient knowledge and confidence to deal with the complicated world they're supposed to be citizens of".

Conservative Lord Deben said: "If young people do not learn how to balance their budgets, do not understand the basics of finance, then its not surprising that financially illiterate people make choices they shouldn't make.

"The fault is not theirs, the fault is an educational system which has decided that these necessary tools of life can be left on one side."

Treasury spokesman Lord Newby said they were all agreed on the importance of financial education.

However, he did not think Lord Flight's amendment was the right way to go about improving the way financial literacy is taught in schools.

He said financial education needed to be "engaging" for pupils, and drew attention to existing initiatives by the financial services sector.

Lord Flight agreed to withdraw the amendment.

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