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Scottish parties back credit unions

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28 Apr 16

All the main parties running for the Scottish Parliament have pledged to support credit unions.

The SNP has formed the Scottish Government since 2007, and their manifesto commits that: “We will encourage and support third sector organisations, social enterprises, and credit unions to enter the market place to fill gaps in the provision of services or to offer alternatives to current providers that are not offering services people can access easily or affordably. This includes energy, banking, payday loans, debt management, and funeral planning”

The Scottish Labour Party has also made a specific manifesto pledge to support the credit union movement, stating that: “For those who fall into debt or money problems, we’ll introduce a financial health service to support them. Too often, people in debt are driven into the arms of loan sharks and high street payday lenders, who charge exorbitant interest rates on loans. We’ll invest in credit unions to offer communities affordable alternatives that give them greater financial control”

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party also highlight the contribution of credit unions in their manifesto, saying: “We have long supported social enterprises, which are some of the best examples of how entrepreneurship can deliver improved social and community outcomes – housing associations and credit unions for example being an integral part of Scotland’s communities. We will look to support social enterprises through increased awareness and publicity, through a new apprenticeship framework and helping incorporation into local supply chains.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats also back some of the credit union movement’s key priorities, pledging to: “Support growth of social enterprises in Scotland, to promote the innovation they can bring, and the wide group of people they draw into the productive economy,” and to make financial education a core part of the school curriculum.

The Scottish Green Party manifesto pledges to support an expanded credit union movement, saying: “Credit unions offer a realistic alternative to the traditional banking sector for many individuals and communities throughout Scotland, providing affordable, community-based, socially responsible lending and investment. Green MSPs will campaign to support credit unions and local banks to create a network of accountable finance institutions. These banking institutions would be more resilient than the ‘too-big-to fail’ banks of today.”

ABCUL Scotland Policy Officer Karen Hurst said: “ABCUL launched its Credit Union Charter last October outlining the Scottish credit union movement’s key priorities for the next Parliament, and we’re delighted that all the main parties have committed to support the sector with specific manifesto pledges.

“Alongside the fact that over 90 candidates from all 5 parties have personally added their support for our Charter, we can be confident that the next Scottish Parliament and Government will back the sustainable growth of Scotland’s credit unions.”

The Scottish Parliament Election is held on Thursday 5 May.

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