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Charter calls for council support


06 Apr 17

A new ABCUL Scotland Credit Union Charter has been launched ahead of May’s local council elections.

Many Scottish local authorities have a long track record of working with credit unions to advance financial inclusion and provide access to affordable and appropriate financial products and services for their communities, so with every council seat in Scotland up for election next month, the Credit Union Charter sets out the ways local politicians can best support credit unions to achieve their shared objectives.

The Charter calls on all local councillors elected in May to support credit unions by:

  1. Encouraging local employers, particularly those within the Council’s supply chain, to partner with credit unions to make ethical savings and loans available to employees through pay roll deduction. 
  2. Supporting credit unions to work with local schools on junior savers schemes to assist pupils in their financial education.
  3. Committing to offering a full business rates exemption to credit unions.
  4. Ensuring that credit unions are central to the Council’s economic regeneration strategy.
  5. Improving financial health in the area by promoting local credit unions as a source of responsible lending and borrowing, as an alternative to high cost lenders.
  6. Supporting the capacity of credit unions by depositing funds that would otherwise be invested in banks.
  7. Assisting local credit unions to find premises where necessary.

ABCUL has already engaged with all the main political parties on this, and the parties competing for control of Glasgow – which is not only Scotland’s largest city, but also the “credit union capital” of Britain with 33 credit unions based in the city and a quarter of the population saving or borrowing with a credit union – have made specific pledges to support the sector in their manifestos.

Glasgow’s governing Labour Party group has pledged to: "Break the payday loan debt cycle by expanding the Wee Glasgow Loan and promoting the city’s credit unions through our Starter for Ten school programme", and to: "Support children leaving our care to set them up in the world by providing... access to a credit union."

The SNP’s manifesto for Glasgow pledges to: “work closely with credit unions, Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and financial inclusion service providers to expand and extend the range and level of services available across the city – such as low interest small loans – and ensure that these are sufficiently funded in future years."

The Scottish council elections are held on Thursday 4 May.

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