Parents would rather see their children taught about personal finance at school than more traditional subjects such as history and geography, a survey showed today.

Money management skills was ranked as the fifth most important area children could be taught about, after English, maths, science and languages.

More than half of parents also said they thought their own financial situation would be better if they had been taught about money at school.

The study of 2,424 people by YouGov comes in the wake of widespread concern over spiralling consumer debt, which has topped the £1 trillion mark.

The Birmingham Post last year launched a campaign backed by business leaders calling for money management to be made a compulsory part of the curriculum.

In January, insolvency experts called on Ministers to make personal finance mandatory in the wake of a 57.1 per cent rise in individual debt in the last quarter of 2005.

Ministers have refused to force schools to teach finance skills despite tripling university tuition fees and encour-aging more young people to enter higher education.

However, the Government is to launch a new personal finance qualification for 14 to 16-year-olds from September.

Annabel Brodie-Smith, communications director at AITC which conducted the YouGov survey, said: "Our research indicates parents believe money management is a vital skill for the next generation and it should be an important priority in schools.

"This is much more under-standable when you consider that over half of parents think their financial situation would have improved if they had been taught personal finance at school."

The research found 40 per cent of people thought it was their own responsibility to educate their children on money matters, while 55 per cent said the task should fall to both parents and teachers.

Speaking to The Birmingham Post last year, Tony Blair expressed reluctance to make financial literacy compulsory, maintaining it would be wrong to put extra burdens on the curriculum.