As MPs today debate making financial education a compulsory part of the school curriculum, on the back of a government e-petition tabled by Martin Lewis as part of a campaign by this website, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls (pictured, right) says young people must be taught about money matters...

Knowing how to manage money and be a savvy consumer is a vital life skill in an increasingly complex world. plays a really important role in educating and informing millions of people about how best to look after their hard-earned pennies and pounds, get a good deal and avoid being ripped off.

But why don't young people start learning this at school?

'Why kids should get money lessons'

Education is about giving young people the skills and knowledge they need to get on in life, which is why I think it's now time that every child should not only learn the 3Rs at school but about pensions and saving, borrowing and mortgages too.

And that's exactly what would have happened in every school this September under plans I set in train as Schools Secretary before last year's general election with the help and support of's very own Martin Lewis.

We said financial education should be compulsory in the curriculum, as part what's called Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education – with improved training and tools for teachers to have the confidence to teach it.

The law to make this happen was going through Parliament when the general election was called last year. But because the Conservatives refused to support Labour's legislation, the plans got scrapped.

'Time for cross-party action'

There's been no progress for the last 18 months, but I am determined that we now find a cross-party consensus on this vital issue for the long-term good of our country.

So I'm pleased that the e-petition calling for financial education to be a compulsory part of the curriculum has been such a success.

It's already got over 100,000 signatures and has sparked a debate in the House of Commons later today.

There's a review of the curriculum underway right now which is a perfect opportunity for the Government to listen to the thousands of people who are backing this campaign.

Let's keep the pressure on and persuade the Government to think again. Every child should learn about how to manage their money. It will set them up for the rest of their lives.

And they might even be able to teach their parents a thing or two.

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