MPs debate over financial school lessons

Elizabeth Fournier
AS MPs finally bowed to pressure yesterday and debated financial education for young people in the Commons, a poll showed that a huge majority of the UK public is in favour of compulsory finance teaching.

Ninety-four per cent of people think financial education in UK schools is necessary, according to a poll by ComRes of behalf of the Chartered Insurance Institute, with 74 per cent in agreement that the general public’s knowledge of financial matters is poor.

The numbers in support of introducing financial literacy teaching into the curriculum has risen markedly since 2004, when the same poll found around 75 per cent in favour.

During the debate in parliament yesterday, schools minister Nick Gibb called for a greater emphasis to be put on mathematics teaching in school, but stopped short of backing a move towards compulsory financial teaching.

Gibb blamed a “got to have it now” culture amongst school-age children for breeding unachievable expectations of wealth, adding: “Developing children’s intellectual capabilities and interests is a direct antidote to materialism.”

Yesterday’s debate took place after more than 100,000 signatures were gathered on a petition backing a curriculum change, backed by founder Martin Lewis, and by MP Justin Tomlinson.

Earlier this week, a group of 226 MPs across all parties published their recommendations on how financial education should be improved in schools, after an eight-month study into the subject.