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Money Advice Service users hits 30,000 a week 5 November 2012

The Money Advice Service has revealed that demand for its advice is up 8% on 2011, with 30,000 consumers using the service each week.

MAS, which was set up by the government to provide unbiased advice about money management, faced criticism for its budget and effectiveness when its bosses went up in front of a Treasury Select Committee sub-committee earlier this year.

But figures from the organisation showed that more than 700,000 people used the service in the six months from 1 April this year, an increase of 8% over 2011 to 2012 on an annualised basis.

The service’s half-year results found that 88% of those who had used MAS would do so again, exceeding its target of 75%.

Some 81% said that it had provided them with the information they needed, ahead of the service’s 75% goal, while 69% of customers acknowledged that MAS had helped them decide on a course of action, above its 50% target.

Gerard Leman, chairman of MAS, claimed that the service was making “steady progress”.

He said: “We will continue to work hard towards our ambitious targets and develop the service to make sure it is in tune with people’s needs, provides action-oriented and sustained help and becomes better known for all life’s money matters.”

Research by MAS published in October found that individuals with unmanageable debt who have sought debt advice are almost twice as likely to have their debt become manageable within 12 months, compared to those who have not looked for advice.

The survey of 4,020 adults found that those same people are also more likely to remain out of debt in the future

At the committee hearing in June this year, chairman George Mudie questioned Lord Turner about why a £20m spend on marketing at MAS was deemed “acceptable”.

He added: “You thought that paying the chief executive £250,000, plus another £100,000 in other benefits, was acceptable for an organisation of 80 people. I thought that light-touch had gone.”

In 2011 to 2012, the service had 1.3 million customers, of which 84,000 contacted MAS over the phone, 74,000 were face-to-face and 1.14m used the service online.



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