Scottish minister pledges support for credit unions

Scotland’s cabinet secretary for communities, social security and equalities, Angela Constance, has reiterated the her government’s support for credit unions at a cross-party meeting of MSPs last month.

Speaking to the MSPs, she highlighted the key role credit unions play in “building a fairer Scotland” and acting as a grassroots movement. She said the government encourages more employers to enter partnerships with credit unions so their staff can save and repay affordable loans via payroll deductions.

The minister talked about the government’s funding for junior savers schemes in schools. She said the project was a result of engagement with credit union representatives and learning about the costs of such projects.

Abcul’s head of policy Matt Bland also addressed the meeting, and said afterwards: “It was good to see such a great turnout – not only of credit union activists at the parliament, but also the wide range of stakeholders and supportive organisations who came along to discuss the contribution credit unions make to Scotland.

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“It was hugely encouraging to hear the minister reiterate the Scottish government’s backing for our movement, and we look forward to achieving more of the objectives of our Credit Union Charter in the coming years as we seek to make Scotland a credit union nation.”

The Cross-Party Group on Credit Unions was set up in 2009 as a forum to discuss issues affecting credit unions in Scotland.

The group acts as a foundation for policy development as well as a network of good practice between credit unions and parliamentarians. It currently includes seven MSPs: Alison Harris, Andy Wighman, Angus MacDonald, Ben Macpherson, James Kelly, Johann Lamont and Pauline McNeill.