Bureaux to link up with finance sector

Citizens Advice is linking up with the financial services industry in a £90,000 pilot project, which could lead to independent financial advisers providing a pro bono service similar to the scheme offered by solicitors.

The partnership, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the financial arena, seeks to tackle the problems that people from lower and middle-income groups have in accessing much-needed financial advice.

"Bureaux are already receiving 1 million new debt enquiries every year, and almost 5 million other enquiries on issues like welfare benefits and tax credits," said David Harker, chief executive at Citizens Advice. "The project aims to identify ways to ensure that consumers are better informed and advised on financial issues."

The six-month project, which will start in the summer, will see nine Citizens Advice Bureaux testing several different approaches to working with independent financial advisers. Citizens Advice will evaluate the project with regard to its long-term plans.

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