Office of Fair Trading
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After Farepak: Consumers get the Christmas saving habit research shows

After Farepak: Consumers get the Christmas saving habit research shows

OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING News Release (128/08) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 5 November 2008

The OFT's 'Save Xmas' campaign has had a major impact on people's behaviour towards saving, new independent research shows.

Following the collapse of the Farepak hamper company, the OFT partnered with Citizens Advice in 2007 to launch and administer the 'Save Xmas' campaign. It received initial funding of £1 million from HM Treasury as part of the Government's response to the Farepak collapse.

The campaign uses face-to-face training sessions to explain the pros and cons of different Christmas saving options as well as wider issues around personal saving. The OFT produced a toolkit including a leaflet, a short film, and presentations to use as the basis for these sessions and the campaign also involved additional publicity including a national launch and regional events.

Research carried out by Ipsos Mori, released today, demonstrates the positive effect this campaign has had on helping consumers to make an informed choice and change their saving habits. For instance:

* the campaign reached an estimated 40,000 consumers in face-to-face sessions.

* 95% of people said they found the Save Xmas session they attended useful.

* nine in ten people knew more about their savings options by the end of the session and four in five knew where to go for more information.

Alongside this, 38% of people contacted in a follow-up survey said they had changed the way they saved for important events as a result of their session, with many opening a saving account with a bank or building society or credit union. 71% also felt more confident about deciding how to save more generally.

John Fingleton, OFT Chief Executive said:

'This research demonstrates just how effective the campaign has been in helping people learn about the different ways in which they can save money and the benefits and risks attached.

'Our partnership with Citizens Advice and community groups in using the face-to-face approach to reach the many people across the country at risk of financial hardship has been, and will continue to be, crucial.'

Ian Pearson MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said:

'The Government is committed to making sure that everyone, especially people living on lower incomes, can make the most of their money, plan for the future and cope with financial pressure.

'We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to save in a safe, accessible and protected environment. I am very pleased to see the success of Save Xmas and I look forward to seeing this valuable work continue in the future.'

The campaign is funded for the next three years. Consumers wanting to find out more should contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau.

John Rhodes, Head of Financial Capability, Citizens Advice said: 'This campaign means that some good, at least, has come out of the Farepak collapse. Citizens Advice Bureaux working with local partners are having a real and substantial impact on the way people save, and not just for Christmas.

'This research by Ipsos Mori backs up the feedback that those teaching financial education skills have been receiving locally, and we welcome the commitment the Treasury and OFT have given to extending the Save Xmas campaign.'

The full evaluation report can be found at http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/campaigns/savexmas/

NOTES

1. Following the collapse of Farepak hamper company in 2006 the Government's announced £1 million funding for the Office of Fair Trading to conduct a consumer awareness campaign on Christmas saving schemes and mainstream alternatives. Save Xmas was launched on 1 June 2007.

2. In December 2007 HM Treasury announced a further £2 million for 'Save Xmas' taking it to March 2011.

http://www.oft.gov.uk


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