Martin Lewis responds to Queen’s speech
11 May 2020
- Martin Lewis has called on the government to rethink plans for the new Online Safety Bill announced in today’s Queen’s Speech, by adding scams to the scope of the Bill.
- The call follows research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute which shows that people with mental health problems are three times as likely to be victims of online scams.
In the Queen’s Speech today, the government announced plans for the Online Safety Bill, its flagship legislation for tackling online harms. However, the new plans for the Bill published today do not mention scams, despite the devastating financial and emotional harms they cause.
Martin Lewis, founder of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and MoneySavingExpert.com, last week joined with a coalition of other organisations to call on the government to include online scams in the Online Safety Bill, to ensure consumers are better protected against these crimes (1).
Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Martin Lewis founder of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and MoneySavingExpert.com, said::
“The Queen read that ‘My government will lead the way in providing internet safety for all, especially children’. Yet the government has stumbled at the first fence, by not including scams in the Online Safety Bill. We live in a world where the policing of scams is dangerously underfunded, leaving criminals to get away with fraud with impunity. This was a chance to at least deny them the ‘oxygen of publicity’ by making big tech responsible for the scammers adverts it is paid to publish.
“By not doing so the government has failed to protect millions, in the midst of a pandemic, from one of the most damaging online harms to their financial and mental health. My slim hope is, as prior reports hinted, the door is ajar for scams to be added to the Bill at the committee stage. And we will continue to expose this gap, and push ministers to put in place proper consumer protections against scams.”
For any other media enquiries, please contact Brian Semple, Head of External Affairs at Money and Mental Health, on 07935 216 804 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
- Martin Lewis has vociferously campaigned against scam adverts. He was named this week by the National Cyber Security Centre as the person scammers targeting the UK use most in their fake adverts, alongside Richard Branson. In 2019 he sued Facebook for defamation over use of his image and name in adverts, and settled for a £3m charity donation to Citizens Advice to fight scams and help victims, and a new ‘scam ads reporting button’.
About the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute:
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is an independent charity set up by Martin Lewis, and committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems. We conduct research, develop practical policy solutions and work in partnership with both those providing services and those using them to find what really works.
About Martin Lewis:
Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is the journalist and consumer campaigner who created MoneySavingExpert.com and is now the site’s Executive Chair. Martin also founded and chairs the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity.
He’s regularly been named the UK’s most-googled man, Citizens Advice’s Consumer Champion of the Year, and has spearheaded major financial justice campaigns including bank charges reclaiming (over seven million template letters downloaded), PPI reclaiming (over six million), successfully taking on Facebook to reduce the number of scam ads, and ran a successful large-scale campaign to get financial education in schools – including personally funding over 300,000 textbooks. In 2020, he also set up the Coronavirus Poverty Fund, funding over £3m to 400+ UK charities. He has his own weekly award-winning prime-time ITV programme, The Martin Lewis Money Show LIVE, as well as a range of other regular media slots.
MoneySavingExpert.com is dedicated to cutting consumers’ bills and fighting their corner. The free-to-use consumer finance help resource aims to show people how to save money on anything and everything, and campaigns for financial justice. It was set up in 2003 for just £100, and its free-to-use, ethical stance quickly made it the UK’s biggest independent money website, according to internet ranking site Alexa.com, and the number one ‘Business and Finance – Business Information’ site, according to Hitwise. It has more than 7.5 million people opted-in to receive the weekly MSE’s Money Tips email, and more than 16 million unique monthly site users who visit more than 28 million times a month, including the MSE Forum, which has more than two million registered users. In September 2012, it joined the MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC.