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New Mayor backs credit unions


09 May 16

The new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has outlined his support for credit unions.

The Labour Party candidate (pictured) was elected last week on a manifesto which pledged to: “Promote financial inclusion, through partnership with the financial sector, including social enterprises and credit unions, with the goal of ensuring that every adult can access financial services in affordable ways that meet their needs, and that all young Londoners leave education with numeracy skills and an understanding of finance.”

The London Assembly was also up for re-election last week, and the commitment by Sadiq Khan reflects the findings of the Final Demand: Personal Debt in London report published by the previous Assembly’s Economy Committee last year, which included the key recommendation that: “The Mayor should take further action to promote savings options, such as credit unions, to a wide range of Londoners. This would support growth of the affordable credit market.”

Last week also saw elections to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

The SNP remains the largest party in the Scottish Parliament and plans to govern as a minority administration. The SNP manifesto pledged 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 opposition parties in the Parliament also backed credit unions in their manifestos. In fact, over a third of all Members of the new Scottish Parliament representing all five parties pledged their support for ABCUL’s Credit Union Charter prior to the election.

Welsh Labour remains the largest party in the Welsh Assembly, and has also declared its intention to form a minority Government. Welsh Labour stood on a manifesto which committed to “assisting credit unions in increasing their capacity and reach” over the next five year term. This assistance will include implementing the new Financial Inclusion Strategy for Wales – a strategy that has credit unions at its core – plus support for credit union marketing and further active promotion of payroll savings schemes.

As in Scotland, the main opposition parties in Wales also pledged their support for the development and growth of credit unions in their manifestos.

ABCUL Head of Policy and Communications Matt Bland said: “We’ve worked hard over a number of years to raise the profile of credit unions with devolved governments and politicians, with a particular focus on building cross-party support for our movement.

“To secure explicit backing from the winning candidates and parties in all these elections is no small achievement, and does not happen by accident. The breadth of support we enjoy from parties across the Parliament and Assemblies means we can be confident of continued support for the expansion and sustainable growth of our credit union movement.”

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