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Cross-Party Group re-formed

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25 Nov 16

The Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Credit Unions has been re-formed for the new Parliamentary term.

The Group, which brings together politicians, credit unions and stakeholders several times a year at Holyrood, has a new Convener in Ruth Maguire MSP (SNP, Cunninghame South).

The Group has a new Deputy Convener too in Claudia Beamish MSP (Scottish Labour and Co-operative, South of Scotland) and also counts among its membership Parliamentarians from the Scottish Conservatives and the Scottish Green Party.

Originally founded in 2009, the Cross-Party Group on Credit Unions has developed a reputation as one of the most active and best attended Groups in the Parliament. This convinced the parties and the Parliamentary authorities to approve the Group’s being re-formed for the new term after all the Cross-Party Groups were dissolved for the elections in May.

The Cross-Party Group on Credit Unions has a stated purpose to “provide a forum to discuss issues which affect credit unions in Scotland” and to “create a foundation for policy development relating to credit unions and help to form a network of good practice between credit unions and Parliamentarians.”

The Group’s new Convener Ruth Maguire MSP (pictured) said: “As well as providing affordable loans with fairer conditions and longer repayment terms than payday lenders, thus helping to tackle the blight of poverty, credit unions also empower communities and encourage individual entrepreneurship. Indeed, they are often termed ‘community banks’, a description which well reflects their nature and purpose.

“I am delighted to have been elected as Convenor of the Cross-Party Group on Credit Unions, and look forward to working with all parties to grow and promote their work in the months and years ahead.”

Claudia Beamish MSP said: “I am delighted to yet again be on the Cross-Party Group on Credit Unions, this time as Deputy Convener. Credit unions have always been something that I have been passionate about, especially since they are owned by their members and are not for profit. I have committed to spreading the outreach of credit unions throughout South Scotland and to highlight the importance and value they bring to the wider Scottish society.

“They are a great way of saving for a rainy day or getting an affordable loan when times are a challenge – especially in times like these when high street banks are struggling to keep their front facing presence in our communities. I am looking forward to all the hard work that’s ahead.”

ABCUL Scotland Policy Officer Karen Hurst, who will provide the Group’s Secretariat, said: “Following the strong cross-party support we secured for ABCUL’s Credit Union Charter in the run-up to the election, it’s great to see the parties maintain their commitment to Scotland’s credit unions by re-forming the Cross-Party Group. We’re looking forward to an interesting programme of meetings at the Parliament starting in the New Year.”

The previous Convener and Deputy Convener of the Group, John Wilson and Anne McTaggart, did not return to Parliament at May’s election. ABCUL is extremely grateful to John and Anne for their outstanding support for Scotland’s credit unions over a number of years and wishes them well in their future endeavours.

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