Money and Pensions Service responds to challenging financial wellbeing recommendations

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) has today released its response to 13 ambitious financial wellbeing recommendations from influential sector leaders, which were published last month.

The response document, which details how the organisation will deliver alongside others in the sector to help support and build a financial wellbeing movement from 2021 onwards, includes an explanation of how MaPS will refocus its current campaigning activity to help those most in need of guidance and support as a result of Covid-19.

The original recommendations, ‘Building the UK’s financial wellbeing in the light of Covid-19’¹, were released in October this year by the Challenge Chairs who advise the Money and Pensions Service on the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing². That report was commissioned by MaPS as one of the significant ways the organisation responded to the immediate crisis as a result of the pandemic.

As well as facilitating the independent Chairs to create their recommendations in ‘Building financial wellbeing in the light of Covid-19’, MaPS recognised early the need to provide agile and responsive guidance to support customers after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

When the crisis initially struck, MaPS reacted quickly to the immediate needs of customers through its money and pensions guidance helplines and websites; updating its guidance daily to reflect swiftly changing policy on access to financial support and benefits from both government and creditors.

In the intervening months since the pandemic first emerged MaPS has worked with stakeholders across the UK to ensure it continues to respond to the evolving crisis, including developing up-to-the minute tools and resources for consumers. Some of this activity, including the creation of the new ‘Money Navigator’ tool³, is also outlined in the report.

As the body with the statutory remit to create a financially healthier nation for individuals, communities, business and the economy, MaPS has an important role to play in many of the recommendations made by the Challenge Chairs. The response document therefore outlines how MaPS is already taking forward aspects of many of the recommendations, sets out how it will take further elements into account as it develops its Corporate Plan for 2021/22, whilst also outlining areas that are clearly outside of the MaPS remit and a matter for the UK Government.

Additionally, MaPS has responded to the independent Chairs’ recommendations by considering the context within Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The nature of the MaPS response in the devolved nations of the UK are outlined in respective ‘story so far’4 documents, which have been released alongside the UK-wide response document.

Sir Hector Sants, Chair of the Money and Pensions Service, said: “When the Covid-19 crisis first gripped the UK, MaPS was acutely aware that there would be a significant and adverse impact on people’s financial wellbeing. It became clear that a pivot of the existing programme of work for the UK Strategy was required alongside other measures we took to maintain sufficient guidance support for those in direct need of our services.

“The work of the independent Chairs on the ‘Building financial wellbeing in the light of Covid-19’ report serves as an important contribution to our wider UK Strategy work. The 13 recommendations produced by the Chairs will be considered in greater detail as the MaPS 2021/22 Corporate Plan is developed, taking into account the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and the priorities it sets.”