Treasury minister and credit union reformer John Glen resigns from government

'I can no longer reconcile my commitment to the role ... with the complete lack of confidence I have in your continuing leadership'

The wave of ministerial resignations prompted by the latest scandal to hit the Boris Johnson government includes John Glen who, as economic secretary to the treasury, had been working closely with the credit union sector.

Mr Glen had held the role since 2018, a long tenure which meant his department avoided the problem of ministerial churn – where frequent changes at the top prevents ministers from developing expertise, hampers consistent long term policy making and makes it harder for businesses and other stakeholders to build relationships with department heads.

He had also been working on a series of reforms which had been welcomed by the sector, and announced his plans at May’s annual conference by the Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul). These included governance reforms and a lending shake-up that will allow credit unions to offer automobile loans for the first time.

In his resignation letter to Johnson, Mr Glen said: “I can no longer reconcile my commitment to the role and to the financial services sector with the complete lack of confidence I have in your continuing leadership of our country.”

His credit union plans are part of a wider set of reforms for the finance sector. “Those reforms are now ready to be presented to parliament, and they represent a fundamental reset of the regulatory framework for the industry and consumers,” Mr Glen said in his letter.

Responding to the news of his resignation, Abcul CEO Robert Kelly said Mr Glen’s reforms would “enable credit unions to expand the range of affordable products and services that they offer to members across the country”.

He added: “John Glen has reiterated earlier today in his resignation that financial services reforms are ready to be presented to parliament and we are confident credit union content will form part of that wide agenda.

“Abcul will continue to liaise with HM Treasury in a pro-active basis to monitor progress on the days and weeks ahead. Abcul would like to sincerely thank John Glen for his dedication to the credit union sector during his tenure as EST and his constant willingness to engage.

“Everyone at the association wishes him well in his future endeavours.”

Mr Kelly said communities across the UK continue to struggle against “a generational cost of living crisis”.

“Credit unions will continue to serve communities and employers in these testing times,” he added, “through the provision of ethical and responsible products and services – our mantra of people helping people will continue to be the bedrock of everything we do.”

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