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By: Richard Green
Last week saw the launch of Scotland’s Financial Inclusion Forum, and with it requests were issued for local authorities, banks, and other financial institutions, to work together to generate and share ideas to help people take control of their own finances. Those attending the forum were asked to help ensure, “that poverty is not exacerbated by lack of access to financial services”.

Deputy community minister, Johann Lamont, said: "It is simply unacceptable that in Scotland there are areas where as many as one in five people have little or no experience of using the basic financial services so many of us take for granted such as bank accounts and insurance.“
"I expect banks, the local authorities, housing associations, community planning partners, credit unions and other key players to work together to provide access to bank accounts and affordable credit; to make saving possible and help people understand and manage their everyday finances and ensure that information and advice are available when people get into debt."
The new initiative is intended to provide £10m in support over 2 years in an effort to help the 10 local authorities with the worst problems to overcome the concerns that prevent as many as one in five people in some localities opening a bank account or buying insurance.

With the amount of help already in the public arena from the likes of Which? ( http://www.which.net/ ), and the growth in financial comparison web sites like Moneynet ( http://www.moneynet.co.uk ). This move should hopefully go some way to overcoming the fear and financial inertia experienced by many people over their own personal finance.

Additional reference material from the Scottish Executive ( http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2005/06/06103036 )

About the Author

Richard works in Edinburgh for a media company, occasionally writing for the personal finance blog Cashzilla, and drinking too much coffee.

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