Scottish Parliament debate recent commitment to launch £10 million Credit Union Investment Fund

By Patrick Thorpe posted 20-09-2019 16:59:28


On Tuesday the Scottish Parliament debated the Scottish Government’s recent commitment to launch a £10 million Credit Union Investment Fund, which we recently reported. You can watch the debate in full here.

The debate, tabled by the Government, noted the contribution of the 90 credit unions in Scotland, and welcomed the commitment, alongside a new strategy for the sector. A an amendment was formally tabled by the Labour Party, and supported by the Government, for calling for increased take up of pay roll deduction schemes.

The debate saw contributions from a large number of MSPs across all parties, and there was strong support from all for the Government’s plans. It was clear that there is strong support for credit unions across the Parliament, with many credit unions citing the work of their own local credit unions – Hi Scot, Pioneer Mutual and 1st Alliance Ayrshire Credit Unions were mentioned during the debate.

In additional, MSPs used this as an opportunity to highlight some of the issues affecting the sector. Michelle Ballantyne, spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives, highlighted the need for reform to credit union legislation, which is currently restrictive. Johann Lamont mentioned the difficulties caused by Protected Trust Deeds, which the Government could do more to address. Angela Constance – herself a former Minister for Credit Unions in the Scottish Government – highlighted the impact of the Lloyds Credit Union Fund on credit union growth.

In closing the debate, Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell noted that she is keen to work with the sector to develop a strategy: “We must develop the strategy co-operatively and collaboratively alongside credit unions. When I met representatives of the sector in the summer, it was clear that they want to act together for the benefit of their sector.”

Karen Hurst, Scottish Policy Officer for ABCUL, said: “This debate reconfirmed that MSPs are seeing the impact credit unions are making in their constituencies up and down the country, and are happy to support the sector in Parliament. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to ensure this funding has the maximum impact”.