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£300,000 to back junior savers

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09 Mar 16

The Scottish Government is committing £300,000 to help credit unions develop saving schemes in schools.

The new scheme is a response to the recent Scotland’s Credit Unions: Investing in our Future report which highlighted the need to improve financial education for young people and recommended partnering with schools to promote schemes run by credit unions.

Credit unions across Scotland will be able to bid for a share of £300,000 of Scottish Government funding to develop savers schemes in schools across the country next year.

Announcing the funding, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil MSP said: “Our new Junior Savers Scheme will give children an understanding of saving and managing money from a young age. 

“Across the country many credit unions are already working with schools giving children access to money advice and bringing maths to life. This funding will help even more credit unions partner with schools to develop their own successful and sustainable schemes. Credit unions are a secure way of saving. They also provide safer opportunities to borrow money and are an alternative to payday lenders.

“By working in partnership with schools, credit unions can raise awareness of money issues such as saving and budgeting. An understanding of finances from an early age can help to change behaviour and play an important role in our efforts to reduce inequalities.”

There are just over 100 credit unions in Scotland, with a combined membership (including juniors) of more than 375,000. 7% of the Scottish population are members of a credit union, meaning Scotland has the fourth highest level of credit union membership in Europe.

Karen Hurst, Scotland Policy Officer at the Association of British Credit Unions, said: “52,000 young people across Scotland are already saving with a credit union, and this Scottish Government investment will help credit unions develop the most effective and sustainable methods of turning today’s school pupils into a generation of regular savers and responsible borrowers.”

One of Scotland’s most successful school saving schemes is Lanarkshire Credit Union’s Savvy Savers project, which has helped more than 7,000 primary and secondary school pupils save over £650,000. The credit union operates Savvy Savers in 74 primary schools and five secondary schools in South Lanarkshire alone.

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