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View from Westminster - May 24, 2012
3:40pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 in MP's View - Mark Garnier
SOCIAL mobility is an area that successive governments have sought to address. The idea that a person born into poverty should be condemned to a lifetime of poverty is one that no-one wishes to subscribe to.
A good education is an absolute basic and more recently a university education has been identified as one engine of social mobility.
Yet it has always struck me that financial literacy – an understanding of managing a bank account and establishing value – has to be one of the cornerstones of social mobility. That is why I was so keen to help set up the Parliamentary Financial Education group.
Talking about financial education in Parliament is one thing, but seeing it delivered is another. Over the last couple of weeks, I have had a chance to not just watch a lesson, but also to give one myself.
A fortnight ago I spent an hour-and- a-half teaching a group of 16-year- olds at Baxter College some basics about how the financial world works. I borrowed the lesson from Money Saving Expert.com, and it covered simple areas such as why credit card debt is bad, how banks make money, and why spending £200 on a pair of football boots will not make you play like David Beckham.
Last week I watched a group of 13- year-olds at King Charles I school being taught about how banks work by a visiting financial expert. Basic stuff, but not something I was ever taught about.
After watching the lesson, I chatted with the kids for half-an-hour about being an MP. On both occasions I was struck by the intuition and intelligence of the students’ questions. They were genuinely enthusiastic about the subjects being taught and it was a real pleasure to have been allowed a chance to be part of their school day.
But the work of promoting financial education still goes on.
A group of us are trying to get this included within the curriculum to make sure that everyone who leaves school is more familiar with money than their parents were.
I have seen people from all walks of life and from all backgrounds floored by failing to manage their finances.
There is no doubt that a good education is key to social mobility; but giving people financial literacy has to be part of that good education.
CONTACT YOUR MP
Email: mark.garnier.mp@ parliament.uk.
Telephone: 020 7219 7198 or 01562 746771.
Write: 9a Lower Mill Street, Kidderminster, DY11 6UU, or House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.