Lord Kirkwood: The MAS is underfunded and risks being ‘swamped’

London UK Thames Parliament 480

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Archy Kirkwood says the Money Advice Service is underfunded and risks being “swamped” with enquiries over the next five years.

The MAS has a total budget of £80.8m for 2012/13. Some £46.3m of this will be spent on delivering “money advice” and will be paid for through an FSA levy on the financial services industry.

The remaining £34.5m will spent on debt advice, reflecting the Government’s decision to move responsibility for debt advice to the MAS.

Speaking at a debate on small pension funds in the House of Lords earleir this week, Lord Kirkwood said : “I am worried about the Money Advice Service. Since April it has had responsibility for debt counselling across the United Kingdom.

“It has a budget of £80m. That sounds like a lot of money but when universal credit comes into being over the next five years or so I think that it will be swamped.

“The point I am making is that if the FSA levy produces £80m it will need to be monitored quite carefully. The Money Advice Service is now in a crucially important position to help people with Omo questions and decumulation issues as they approach retirement; it is an essential co-part of its work.

“I do not think it is properly resourced at the moment for the future demands that will be placed on it.”