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CPG hears Minister pledge support

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08 Feb 17

The Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Credit Unions has heard the Cabinet Secretary’s vision for supporting the movement.

The well attended meeting was addressed by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance MSP (pictured), who praised the “phenomenal” scale Scotland’s credit union sector has achieved as a grassroots movement, and noted the key role credit unions play in building a fairer Scotland.

She emphasised the importance of credit unions attracting members from all walks of life, and reiterated the Scottish Government’s encouragement for more employers to enter partnerships with credit unions so that their staff can save and repay affordable loans via payroll deduction – something that would benefit employers, employees and credit unions alike.

She also noted the crucial role credit unions play in promoting financial inclusion, and that the Scottish Government’s funding for junior savers schemes in schools was a result of listening to credit unions’ representations regarding the costs of such projects.

The Cross-Party Group on Credit Unions was established in 2009, and this was the Group’s first business meeting of the new Parliamentary session. The Group’s new Convener is Ruth Maguire MSP (SNP, Cunninghame South) and the Deputy Convener is Claudia Beamish MSP (Scottish Labour & Co-operative, South of Scotland). The meeting was also attended by Alison Harris MSP (Scottish Conservative & Unionist, Central Scotland) and Ben Macpherson MSP (SNP, Edinburgh Northern & Leith). ABCUL provides the Group’s secretariat.

ABCUL 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.

“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.”

Scotland’s credit unions serve more than 385,000 people, including 55,000 junior savers. Members are saving £490 million and borrowing £296 million, and the sector’s assets are worth £570 million.

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