Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

The National Assembly for Wales will debate a Financial Education and Inclusion bill. Teej Dew, our Financial Inclusion Programme Director, comments on policy and practical steps

with 2 comments

Financial literacy (or financial capability) has never been so important. We as a society have always needed to know how to manage our money, but we are now living in a testing financial environment where the demands on our personal budgets are higher than they have been for many years.

For the long term, educating our young people in what money is and how to make decisions about their finances is vital. In fact it’s not just about finances, but about life choices. Choices like ‘do I get this mobile phone contract and if I do will that leave me short for the rent money?’ can mean the difference between having a home and not.

Starting this thinking in school is necessary both because of its importance but also because many parents themselves struggle to manage family finances, so don’t have the knowledge and skills to pass on to their children.

There are a number of elements on money included in the numeracy framework in Wales. We need to make sure this continues to be delivered and that that sparks off other conversations in the classroom about how money can be managed. There is support there for schools and although it is accepted there is always pressure on classroom time, schools need to take the lead in delivering the resources that have been provided.

In addition, there are many adults for whom dealing with their finances is a mystery. This results in them lurching from one inadvisable decision and its consequences to the next. This costs money, family life, opportunities and in some cases even jobs. Many adults need to become more financially capable.

In order to provide basic level guidance on managing money, the Money Made Clear Wales (www.moneymadeclearwales.org ) website has been set up with Welsh Government funding and the co-operation of the Money Advice Service in Wales. With links to expert advice and services, it is in use by the public and by agencies who sit with individuals to help them to make money choices. We would like to see far more people getting the benefit from this website as the feedback from real people, in real money problems has been overwhelmingly positive.

The availability of appropriate financial services is vital. A safe and trusted place to save, affordable credit, transactional services and affordable insurance products may seem accessible but to many they are out of reach.   This goes hand in hand with financial capability. After all knowing all about APR is not helpful if you have no choice but to borrow at high rates of interest?

At the same time what good is restricting payday lending if a person doesn’t know enough about how to manage from one pay day and so needs to borrow as an emergency? If payday loans are not available people will just borrow from elsewhere, possibly from a loan shark.

Advice is key. We have excellent quality advice services in Wales and they are working further to co-ordinate themselves to help people wherever and whenever they need it. It is a challenge but the Welsh Government’s Advice Services Review provides a framework for us all to work to.

Policy

The Wales Co-operative Centre welcomes any debate about personal finances that gets policy makers, service deliverers and the public thinking, talking and taking action about this issue.

In Wales, we have seen a change in the approach of service providers to financial inclusion over the last 2 years with a much better commitment to supporting people to make their finances work for them. There are a number of reasons attributable but we see local authorities, housing providers and Government all considering personal money and how people manage it differently.

There is some way to go and we would urge Government and public sector bodies to continue to work with their senior staff and service delivery staff on a way forward. For example having financial inclusion as part of the local authority’s single integrated plan means nothing if the staff dealing with a homeless person have no understanding of why they cant set up a standing order to pay their rent.

In short, work is being done but we need this to continue and expand.

Practical Steps

Recognising that public resources are under pressure we would highlight a few practical steps that could be undertaken with relatively low financial commitment;

Financial education in schools needs to be continued. The Financial Education Unit has made a good start with integration into the numeracy framework, the production of materials and some training for teachers. We need to continue to this momentum with schools delivering and expanding conversations about money in other lessons. We also need parents to support this agenda, being aware and involved in conversations about money. For example, financial capability sessions for parents held locally and in parallel with work at schools could be helpful.

Financial inclusion needs to be a strategic consideration but as explained this needs to be continued at an operational level. Customer facing staff should be trained in ‘problem noticing’ and appropriate signposting.

Local authorities are in a prime position to make a difference on support for financial inclusion. Helping credit union, advice and other third sector support services to co-operate and co-locate is of value both to the organisation and the public.

These are the things that will make a difference, legislated for or not.

 

Mae llythrennedd ariannol (neu allu ariannol) yn bwysicach nag erioed. Fel cymdeithas, mae angen wedi bod arnom erioed i wybod sut i reoli’n harian, ond rydym bellach yn byw mewn amgylchedd ariannol heriol lle mae’r galw ar ein cyllidebau personol yn uwch nag y buont am lawer o flynyddoedd.

Yn yr hirdymor, mae addysgu ein pobl ifanc am yr hyn yw arian a sut i wneud penderfyniadau am eu materion ariannol yn hanfodol. Yn wir, nid ymwneud â materion yn unig mae hyn, ond â dewisiadau bywyd. Gall dewisiadau o’r fath olygu’r gwahaniaeth rhwng cael cartref neu beidio er enghraifft, ‘a ddylwn i gael y contract ffôn symudol hwn a phe bawn i, a fydd hyn yn golygu na fydd gennyf ddigon o arian ar gyfer y rhent?’.

Mae dechrau meddwl fel hyn yn yr ysgol yn hanfodol oherwydd ei bwysigrwydd a hefyd oherwydd bod nifer o rieni yn cael anhawster eu hunain i reoli materion ariannol y teulu, felly nid oes ganddynt yr wybodaeth na’r sgiliau i’w trosglwyddo i’w plant.

Mae nifer o elfennau ariannol wedi’u cynnwys yn y fframwaith rhifedd yng Nghymru. Mae angen i ni sicrhau bod hyn yn parhau i gael ei gyflawni a bod hyn yn tanio sgyrsiau yn y dosbarth ynglŷn â sut y gellir rheoli arian. Mae cymorth ar gael ar gyfer ysgolion ac er y derbynnir bod pwysau cyson ar amser yn y dosbarth, mae angen i ysgolion arwain y ffordd wrth drosglwyddo’r adnoddau a ddarparwyd.

Yn ogystal, mae ymdrin â materion ariannol yn ddirgelwch i lawer o oedolion. Mae hyn yn arwain atynt yn mynd o un penderfyniad gwael a’i ganlyniadau i’r nesaf. Mae hyn yn effeithio ar arian, ar fywyd teuluol, ar gyfleoedd ac mewn rhai achosion ar swyddi hyd yn oed. Mae angen i lawer o oedolion ddod yn fwy abl yn ariannol.

Er mwyn darparu lefel sylfaenol o arweiniad ar reoli arian, sefydlwyd gwefan Money Made Clear Wales (http://www.moneymadeclearwales.org ) drwy nawdd Llywodraeth Cymru a chydweithrediad y Gwasanaeth Cynghori Ariannol yng Nghymru. Trwy gyfrwng ei gysylltiadau â chyngor a gwasanaethau arbenigol, mae’n cael ei ddefnyddio gan y cyhoedd ac asiantaethau sy’n helpu unigolion i wneud dewisiadau ariannol. Rydym yn dymuno gweld llawer yn rhagor o bobl yn manteisio ar y wefan hon oherwydd mae’r adborth gan bobl go iawn a chanddynt broblemau ariannol go iawn wedi bod yn gadarnhaol dros ben.

Mae argaeledd gwasanaethau ariannol priodol yn hanfodol. Mae canfod lle diogel y gallwch ymddiried ynddo i gynilo arian, cael credyd fforddiadwy, gwasanaethau trafodaethol a chynnyrch yswiriant fforddiadwy yn gallu ymddangos yn hygyrch ond i lawer maent ymhell o’u cyrraedd. Mae hyn yn cyd-fynd â gallu ariannol. Wedi’r cwbl nid yw gwybod y cyfan am APR yn ddefnyddiol os nad oes gennych ddewis heblaw benthyg ar gyfraddau llog uchel.

Ar yr un pryd pa mor ddefnyddiol yw cyfyngu ar fenthyciadau diwrnod cyflog os nad yw’r unigolyn yn gwybod digon am sut i ymdopi o un diwrnod cyflog i’r llall ac felly bod arno angen cael benthyciad mewn argyfwng? Os nad yw benthyciadau diwrnod cyflog ar gael bydd pobl yn benthyg o lefydd eraill, o bosibl gan fenthycwyr arian didrwydded.

Mae cyngor yn hanfodol. Mae gennym wasanaethau cynghori o safon rhagorol yng Nghymru ac maent yn gweithio i gydlynu eu hunain i helpu pobl lle bynnag a phryd bynnag y mae arnynt angen cymorth. Mae’n her ond mae Adolygiad Gwasanaethau Cynghori Llywodraeth Cymru yn darparu fframwaith ar ein cyfer i weithio tuag ato.

Polisi

Mae Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru yn croesawu unrhyw drafodaeth am faterion ariannol personol sy’n golygu bod gwneuthurwyr polisi, cyflawnwyr gwasanaethau a’r cyhoedd yn dechrau meddwl, siarad a gweithredu ar y mater hwn.

Dros y 2 flynedd diwethaf rydym wedi gweld newid yng Nghymru o ran dull y darparwyr gwasanaethau tuag at gynhwysiant ariannol â llawer mwy o ymrwymiad yn cael ei roi i gefnogi pobl i ymdrin â’u harian yn llwyddiannus. Mae nifer o resymau dros hyn ond rydym yn gweld awdurdodau lleol, darparwyr tai a’r Llywodraeth oll yn ystyried arian personol a’r modd mae pobl yn ei reoli’n effeithiol.

Mae tipyn o waith i’w gyflawni ac rydym yn annog y Llywodraeth a chyrff y sector cyhoeddus i barhau i weithio gyda’u staff uwch a staff sy’n darparu’r gwasanaethau ar y ffordd ymlaen. Er enghraifft nid yw cynnwys cynhwysiant ariannol yn rhan o gynllun integredig sengl yr awdurdod lleol yn golygu dim os nad yw’r bobl sy’n ymdrin ag unigolyn digartref yn deall pam nad yw’n gallu sefydlu gorchymyn sefydlog i dalu ei rent.

Yn gryno, mae gwaith yn cael ei gyflawni ond rydym angen i hyn barhau ac ehangu.

Camau ymarferol

Wrth gydnabod bod adnoddau cyhoeddus dan bwysau rydym yn dymuno amlygu rhai camau ymarferol y gellid eu cyflawni trwy ymrwymiad ariannol gweddol isel.

Mae angen parhau ag addysg ariannol mewn ysgolion. Mae’r Uned Addysg Ariannol wedi dechrau’n dda wrth integreiddio i’r fframwaith rhifedd, cynhyrchu deunyddiau ac darparu ychydig o hyfforddiant i athrawon. Mae angen i ni barhau â’r momentwm hwn gydag ysgolion yn darparu ac yn ehangu sgyrsiau am arian mewn gwersi eraill. Rydym hefyd angen i rieni gefnogi’r agenda hon, gan fod yn ymwybodol a chymryd rhan mewn sgyrsiau am arian. Er enghraifft, gallai sesiynau gallu ariannol ar gyfer rhieni a gynhelir yn lleol ac ar y cyd â’r gwaith yn yr ysgolion fod yn ddefnyddiol.

Mae angen i gynhwysiant ariannol fod yn ystyriaeth strategol ond fel yr esboniwyd, mae angen i hyn barhau ar lefel weithredol. Dylid hyfforddi staff sy’n ymwneud â’r cyhoedd o ran ‘sylwi ar broblemau’ a chyfarwyddo pobl yn briodol.

Mae awdurdodau lleol mewn sefyllfa ddelfrydol i wneud gwahaniaeth i’r cymorth ar gyfer cynhwysiant ariannol. Mae helpu undebau credyd, gwasanaethau cynghori a chymorth arall o’r trydydd sector i gydweithredu a chydleoli yn werthfawr i’r sefydliad a’r cyhoedd.

Rhain yw’r pethau a fydd yn gwneud gwahaniaeth, wedi’u deddfu ar ei chyfer neu beidio.

Written by Katija Dew

October 16, 2013 at 9:23 am

Posted in co-operatives

2 Responses

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  1. Well said, I am in total agreement. Poverty has dreadful effects for generations. However many are victims of circumstance and given appropriate advise will help themselves
    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

    sandra.lewis99@gmail.com

    October 16, 2013 at 11:10 am

  2. […] case study, or providing our perspective on current policy. Our blogs will we published here on the Centre’s blog and on the Communities 2.0 blog. We will also be using the twitter hashtag […]


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