Scottish Labour leader backs credit union project for 11-year olds

'I want to see generational change in attitudes towards how people access credit if they need it'

The Scottish Labour Party wants to help 11-year olds learn about financial planning by giving them £20 each in a credit union account.

Back in 2016 the Scottish Labour Party said all pupils in their first year of  secondary school should have a credit union account opened for them. the policy, developed by Labour/Co-op-led Glasgow City Council, is designed to protect people from legal and illegal loan sharks. The council suggested depositing £10 in first year pupils credit union accounts.

The new £20 policy was proposed by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard during a visit a local credit union in Liverpool, where the Labour Party conference was taking place.

According to debt advice charity StepChange, nearly one in five people seeking help with their debt owes money to a payday loan company with an average debt of £980.

Mr Leonard said: “Scotland’s broken economy doesn’t work for working people, with too many families having to turn to high-cost credit to pay essential bills. That cannot go on.

“Under Labour, the days of predatory companies profiting from the squeezed wages of working people will end. Labour will take real action on the cost of living to ensure more money in the pockets of working people.

“But I also want to see generational change in attitudes towards how people access credit if they need it. That’s why a Scottish Labour government would expand support for credit unions and establish a credit union account for every first year pupil in Scotland – we’ll put £20 in it too.

“Credit unions can play a vital role in personal financial education and on the importance of an ethical economy.

“This will increase awareness of credit unions among working class families and ensure that generations of young people to come have access to low cost credit.”

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