3 Baroness Sater debates involving HM Treasury

International Women’s Day

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Friday 8th March 2024

(3 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con)
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My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Casey, on her excellent maiden speech; I am sure noble Lords all agree. I thank my noble friend the Minister for introducing this very important debate on International Women’s Day, focusing on the vital importance of the financial inclusion of women in our society. I declare my interest as a vice-chair of the APPG on Financial Education for Young People. I am a strong advocate of this subject and will always jump to make the case for more financial literacy in schools, as my noble friend the Minister may have heard me do several times before in your Lordships’ House.

In 2022, research by PwC showed that 10.7 million UK women are unable to access mainstream financial products. According to the Financial Times, on this important International Women’s Day last year, the average pension pot for a 65 year-old woman in the UK was around a fifth of the average pot of a man of the same age. It is excellent to see charities such as the Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign, which the Financial Times has fostered, stepping up to meet this educational challenge. As that campaign reports:

“Financial literacy has been proven to increase social mobility and improve financial behaviour for individuals and communities. It’s our aim to democratise financial education by providing free and engaging content to those who need it most: young people, women, and disenfranchised groups”.


We do not talk enough about the importance of physical and emotional well-being. The Mental Health Foundation report Uncertain Times: Anxiety in the UK and How to Tackle it tells us that worrying about money is the biggest cause of stress. In 2023, 21% more young women aged between 17 and 25 suffered anxiety and depression about money than their male counterparts, according to the National Centre for Social Research. Financial education leads to confidence and better financial decision-making for those who have received it, which in turn can lead to a more secure, stable and healthy financial future.

We have come a long way in many areas of gender equality, but—as has been confirmed by noble Lords across the House today—so much more can and should be done. The Government must continue their mission to ensure that everyone leaves school with a sound understanding of how to manage their finances. Any government-sponsored financial education initiatives can prove key to developing and growing more women’s participation in the workforce, widening access to financial products and increasing their chances of a more secure financial future.

In the UK we do not have a problem with girls wanting more financial education. According to the London Institute of Banking & Finance young persons’ money index, 86% of girls want to receive more, whereas only 70% of boys want the same. This is an area ripe for both policy expansion and school accountability, where we already have a receptive audience. While financial education is a statutory teaching requirement in secondary schools, it is not in primary schools; there are calls to make it so from many quarters.

In isolation, none of these steps solves the disparity between men and women in financial inclusion, but much good work is being done, including the national programmes such as My Money Week, run by the well-recognised financial enterprise education charity Young Enterprise. It aims to encourage children and young people aged three to 19 to take an interest in financial matters, and the teachers also receive valuable support in delivery.

The Centre for Financial Capability, another expert charity in the field, is calling for increased financial education for all children from a young age, to ensure they are equipped with the financial resilience skills necessary for later life. There is clearly much more to be done and an opportunity to grow our audiences in schools, from the age at which primary school children start receiving their pocket money. But bear in mind that nowadays pocket money is more likely to be represented on an app, or in some cases a cash card controlled by parents, than the old-fashioned piggy bank. This makes saving a different educational prospect from that which it was previously. The young persons’ money index also stated that 71% of girls expressed interest in learning more about debt, whereas 6% fewer boys expressed the same concern. It is quite clear that the more prepared you are to cope with your finances when you leave school, the better.

Many reports have been produced, including by the financial education charity MyBnk, which showed in a study in 2020 that 43% of girls were not financially confident, a marked 18% less than boys. Boys display greater confidence in managing money, with 42% feeling highly confident in money management compared with 38% of girls. The gap is wider when we look at children aged 11 or older, according to the Money and Pensions Service in 2022. The hallmark of financial literacy is a combination of knowledge, ability and confidence. Breaking down barriers to high-quality women’s financial education is critical in furnishing more women and girls with the tools and opportunities to make informed financial decisions, which will only increase greater financial inclusion of women and better financial outcomes for women.

Banking Hubs

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Monday 11th December 2023

(6 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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That is why the Government decided that it was time to legislate. We felt that the voluntary initiative was not coming along fast enough, and we legislated in the Financial Services and Markets Act in the summer. The FCA, the key independent regulator, has brought forward its consultation in short order.

Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con)
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My Lords, we know that banking hubs should provide the face-to-face communication which is so valuable and important for those who need extra help and support with their finances and may not be equipped with adequate financial understanding and skills. As we know, not all young people are leaving school having had an adequate financial education. Can the Minister assure us that there will be a person at each of these hubs to provide much needed and valuable face-to-face communication?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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In many circumstances banking hubs have a private room where community bankers can meet customers to discuss their financial requirements. Cash Access UK, the partnership that sets up banking hubs, publishes a list showing where community bankers are available. I should also point my noble friend to other interventions that some banks are using, such as mobile banking services, pods and pop-ups. There are a lot of ways to have face-to-face contact with consumers.

Financial Inclusion in England

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Wednesday 30th November 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con)
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My Lords, the Money and Pensions Service has highlighted that children’s attitudes to money are well developed by the age of seven. According to the CBI, prioritising financial education could add nearly £7 billion to the UK economy each year. Does the Minister agree that the Government should consider making financial education a statutory part of the primary school curriculum?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, financial education in England is covered within both the citizenship and mathematics curricula. The Money and Pensions Service has also published financial education guidance for both primary and secondary schools in England to support school leaders and education decision-makers to enhance the financial education currently delivered in their schools. More broadly, after Covid and other disruptions there has been a commitment by this Government not to make any changes to the national curriculum for the remainder of the Parliament.