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The Money Advice Service will face probe


The much-criticised Money Advice Service is to face an independent investigation set up by the Government.

The move comes ahead of the renewed focus on financial advice announced by the Chancellor in his "pension freedom" Budget. George Osborne promised that people will be given free advice to help them decide what to do with their cash.

The Money Advice Service (MAS) has been asked by the Treasury to get involved in creating the new financial guidance for pensioners. However, its future has been thrown into doubt today with the publication of a letter from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid, revealing that the Government will commission an independent review of the service in response to demands from the Treasury Committee.

The chairman of the committee, Andrew Tyrie, said: "Given the seriousness of the problems identified at the MAS during our inquiry, the Treasury Committee considered an independent review to be essential. I welcome the Government's change of mind. It now agrees that this review should be independent, rather than Treasury-led.

"Our report called for the results of the review to be published no later than summer 2014. Given that the MAS has now been asked to play a role in the new financial guidance for pensioners, it is even more important that the Government gets on with it.

"It was not in a healthy state and some worthy attempts have now been made to reform it. The jury remains out on whether the MAS should be retained in its current form.

"A central task of the review will be to assess whether we should continue to channel £80m or thereabouts each year through the MAS."