Welsh ministers visit credit unions after £422k funding boost for the sector

First minister Mark Drakeford said credit unions help efforts to promote social justice and tackle poverty

Welsh government ministers have visited credit unions across Wales as they announced continued funding of just over £422,000 a year for the sector.

A release from the devolved administration said credit unions are “actively involved in communities throughout Wales [and] contribute to the economy and the financial wellbeing of members, who can save safely and borrow at an affordable rate of interest”.

Cabinet ministers made coordinated visits across the country to voice their support for the sector, and to raise awareness of the services it provides, which include ethical and affordable lending.

Among those taking part were first minister Mark Drakeford and social justice minister Jane Hutt, who called in on Cardiff and Vale Credit Union.

Drakeford said: “This time of year can be particularly difficult as people are left to deal with the cost of Christmas.

“We know this winter especially, during an unprecedented cost of living crisis, many are finding it very tough and, sadly, high interest doorstep lenders or loan sharks will prey on those suffering financial difficulties.

“I would urge those struggling to turn to their local credit union, which can provide access to fair and affordable credit – in support of our journey to promote social justice and tackle poverty across Wales.”

Credit unions can help those who might traditionally find it difficult to save through offering schemes such as payroll deductions. They also offer Christmas savings schemes that only allow withdrawals in the lead up to the festive season.

“While many of us may not even want to think about next Christmas,” added Drakeford,“ now could be the perfect time to consider starting to save. Credit unions can make that process easier.

The Welsh government provides credit unions with revenue funding – which it says ensures that they can “develop a host of projects in communities aimed at boosting membership”.

Hutt added: “I would urge those who might be struggling and tempted to use high-cost credit to use their local credit union as a responsible alternative to other forms of lending.

“It is clear Welsh credit unions work incredibly hard, and I’d like to thank them for their commitment to providing ethical savings and affordable loans. They truly are a lifeline to people all across Wales.”