A new public financial guidance body will be created to make it easier for people to find debt and pensions advice.

The government had consulted on plans for separate money advice and pension guidance bodies, but has decided a single body will provide a better service for consumers.

Industry and consumer finance groups raised concerns about two bodies working together effectively. The new single body will replace the Money Advice Service, which has faced criticism for paying its staff too much and failing to help those who needed it most, and the Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS).

A single guidance body will be more efficient and will help consumers make the right financial decisions

Pensions minister Richard Harrington
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It will also take on the role of Pension Wise, a service that offers face-to-face or over-the-phone pensions guidance currently run by TPAS and Citizens Advice.

The government will now consult on the design of the new organisation.

Simon Kirby said the new financial body will give people "more control over their lives". Image by racorn/Shutterstock.com

Simon Kirby, the economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Our government wants to give ordinary people more control over the lives, and that includes their financial security.

“We strongly believe that creating one public guidance body is the best way of making it as easy as possible for people to access the help they need to get their financial questions answered.”

Pensions minister Richard Harrington, said: “A single guidance body will be more efficient and will help consumers make the right financial decisions, and we are committed to ensuring people can access the best free and impartial financial guidance possible.” 

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “What’s best for consumers needs to be at the centre of the changes to public financial guidance.

“It is important that there is a holistic approach to guidance and debt advice offering the opportunity for money, debt and pensions services to be interlinked so as to address people's financial queries as a whole.

“Government could also consider how guidance could be offered at key stages of people’s lives – like starting a new job or having a baby – so people get their questions answered when their finances change.

“We’ll continue to work closely with government as these plans are developed.”