MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I TALKED last week about finance and the state of the nation’s economy as we headed into 2012.

This week I want to continue on the money theme but take things a little closer to home and draw you attention to a fantastic effort from people up and down the country to campaign for the futures of the nation’s young people.

Early last year I was inundated with a huge amount of correspondence, primarily emails, from people who live in Fylde urging me to join an All Party Parliamentary Group.

“What’s an All Party Parliamentary Group?” you may ask.

There are many of these groups set up in Parliament, on everything from Aerospace to Angling, which allow MPs and peers with common interests to discuss them, gain greater knowledge and, if necessary, raise them in the House.

The groups are not quite what you’d call all-powerful (I’m Vice Chairman of the APPG on the BBC but it doesn’t exactly mean I can ring the Director General and demand a new series of The Thick of It) but they do contribute ideas and provide an outlet for debate.

Anyway, as these groups fly very much under the radar, I was really surprised to be receiving such a fervent support for my membership of a particular cause.

But the more I thought about it the more it made good sense – the emails were asking me to join the APPG for Financial Education for Young People.

Following a successful internet campaign many people felt there was a great need, in light of the complex financial world that we live in, for children to be educated on money matters.

I felt this was a very worthy aim and happily joined the group, after all, who couldn’t use a bit of help in understanding the complex and, sometimes, confusing world of personal finance.

A year or so on and the group has produced a report which recommends financial education should be compulsory in every school’s curriculum and assessed.

The report also says that each school should appoint a dedicated ‘champion’ to coordinate financial education.

The ideas will now be put forward to the Government to assess and I hope all of those who wrote to me about joining the group will be pleased to see their hard work paying off and progress being made.

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