Abcul launches credit union charter for Scotland ahead of local elections

The Association of British Credit Unions is pushing the movement’s agenda, with every council seat in Scotland up for the vote

ABCUL Scotland has launched a Credit Union Charter ahead of May’s local council elections.

The trade association for Scottish credit unions says the country’s local authorities have a track record of working with the sector to advance financial inclusion and provide access to affordable and appropriate financial products and services.

And with every council seat in Scotland up for election next month, it has developed the charter to set out the ways local politicians can best support credit unions.

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It calls on all local councillors elected in May to support credit unions by:

  • Encouraging local employers, particularly those within the council’s supply chain, to partner with credit unions to make ethical savings and loans available to employees through pay roll deduction
  • Supporting credit unions to work with local schools on junior savers schemes to assist pupils in their financial education
  • Committing to offering a full business rates exemption to credit unions
  • Ensuring that credit unions are central to the council’s economic regeneration strategy
  • Improving financial health in the area by promoting local credit unions as a source of responsible lending and borrowing, as an alternative to high cost lenders
  • Supporting the capacity of credit unions by depositing funds that would otherwise be invested in banks
  • Assisting local credit unions to find premises where necessary.

ABCUL says it has already engaged with all the main political parties on this, and the parties competing for control of Glasgow – the “credit union capital” of Britain with 33 credit unions and a quarter of the population using the movement – have made specific pledges to support the sector.

Glasgow’s governing Labour Party group has pledged to: “Break the payday loan debt cycle by expanding the Wee Glasgow Loan and promoting the city’s credit unions through our Starter for Ten school programme”, and to: “support children leaving our care to set them up in the world by providing… access to a credit union.”

The SNP’s manifesto for Glasgow pledges to: “work closely with credit unions, Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and financial inclusion service providers to expand and extend the range and level of services available across the city – such as low interest small loans – and ensure that these are sufficiently funded in future years.”

The Scottish council elections are held on Thursday 4 May.

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