Consumer Skills
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06th September 2007

NORTHERN IRELAND WORST IN UK AT MANAGING MONEY

A Consumer Council report out today shows that Northern Ireland consumers are bottom of the league in the UK when it comes to being financially savvy.

Ian Paisley Junior and Gerry Kelly launched the report - Managing Money – How Does Northern Ireland Add Up - by video-link today at a meeting of the Financial Capability Partnership – a group of key organisations from the public, private and voluntary sector.  The Ministers commended the report’s findings and pledged to work with the Consumer Council to tackle these issues which can lead to poverty and hardship for thousands.

Julie Megrath, Senior Consumer Affairs Officer at the Consumer Council said: “People here are at greater risk of financial difficulties because we lag behind the rest of the UK in planning ahead, choosing financial products and staying informed about financial matters.  Having the skills, confidence and information to manage our money is vital.  Many people are not prepared if the washing machine breaks down or someone suddenly loses their job and would struggle to make ends meet.

“Every day, we are bombarded with ads for insurance, credit cards and mortgages, but we lag way behind when it comes to keeping up to date with these issues and choosing these products.  In fact the report shows that adults here were less likely to have bought a financial product in the last five years than adults in Great Britain.  There are some tough challenges ahead to help people to plan for the future and stay out of financial trouble “

The research also showed that people here are better at keeping track of their money.  However, this is because fewer people have a current account and rely on cash to manage the household budget.  So much so that low income households here are three times more likely to know how much money they had in their pockets down to the last £10 than those in the rest of the UK.  

The Consumer Council established the Northern Ireland Financial Capability Partnership with the Financial Services Authority to bring together the public, private and voluntary sectors to educate people about managing their money.  The aim of the Partnership is to work with the Assembly to improve levels of money management and implement the UK’s Financial Capability Strategy fully in Northern Ireland.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The report describes the results of new analysis of the Northern Ireland data from the Baseline Survey of Financial Capability (BSFC).  The BSFC is a survey of the financial behaviour and attitudes of adults.  It covers the whole of the UK, and includes ‘booster’ samples for Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland to enable analysis at national level.  The data was collected and analysed on behalf of the FSA in order to inform their Financial Capability Strategy.
  2. Consumer Council media contact: Gráinne Duffy, telephone, 028 9067 4813 or e-mail, [email protected].  
  3. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about electricity, natural gas, coal, passenger transport and water.
  4. For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk

Managing Money Report Launch