Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Festive Debt and Job Applications

There are two reports out today, which in my mind are linked if not in their cause then in a way to resolve the problems they highlight.

The first is from accountants Grant Thornton, predicting that 30,000 people will declare bankruptcy in the first quarter of this year. They estimate that 10,000 of these people will need to do so because of excessive spending in the lead up to Christmas. You can read the full report here.

The second is from the Recruitment and Employment Federation for the BBC, which found that 47% of job applications contained spelling or grammatical errors. You can see the details of the survey here.

The issue in both these cases to my mind is education. Our curriculum should be focussing on the basics of good English, both spelling and grammar.

Similarly, the curriculum should be looking at basic life skills, not least personal economics. I wasn’t taught any basic money management skills in school, I learnt about handling a budget largely through my parents, I was lucky, they were in business and therefore basic finance and economics was part of my upbringing.

There are now two generations who have been educated since the freeing of credit controls. Very many people of my and successive generations have no education in how to handle money, it’s a matter of learning from experience.

Freeing credit was a Conservative policy and its effects have been to invigorate our economy and provide enormous personal freedom. With that freedom comes the need for responsibility and the danger of living beyond your means. Teaching the basics of money management and how credit works would in my opinion go some considerable way to tackling the problem of personal debt.

The Conservative Party have made a good start with the ‘Sort it’ campaign. That’s just the kind of initiative that should be transferred to our schools.

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