Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister, has thrown his support behind a new charity that aims to boost the financial literacy of young people, women and disadvantaged communities.
The charity is being launched by the Financial Times and will replace the newspaper's seasonal appeal, which has raised more than £19.5m over the past 15 years.
The FT Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign today unveiled its strategy, which includes plans to develop educational programmes to tackle financial literacy, initially in the UK and then around the world.
It will seek to warn people about potential financial traps as well as empowering them to realise their aspirations, said the FT. It will also campaign for policy change and clearer product communication by financial companies.
Aimée Allam, executive director of FT Flic, said: “Improving financial literacy for people that need it most will empower and build financial resilience among communities that have faced growing inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic and austerity.”
A survey by Ipsos MORI for the FT found that 90 per cent of the 3,194 people polled across England learned “nothing at all” or “not very much” about finance at school.
Researchers also found that barely half of the respondents were able to correctly compare the costs of borrowing via credit cards or bank overdrafts, regardless of their wealth, ethnicity or gender.
Brown, who led the last Labour government between 2007 and 2010, said: “In [MP] surgeries, I came face-to-face with constituents who could not manage their finances or pay their bills, who racked up debts and fell into the hands of money lenders.
“I saw not only the despair that this brings and the impact it has on physical and mental health, but the need for far greater financial literacy.
“I welcome this initiative to create an umbrella foundation that will not only work with current providers at the grassroots level, but it will also seek changes to policy.”