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Minister launches new Scottish Government plan at credit union

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22 Aug 17

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance, has launched a new action plan to assist people struggling with the cost of funerals, on a visit to credit unions in Renfrewshire.

The plan sets out 10 steps that the Government will be taking to address this issue, following a report by Citizens Advice Scotland setting out the scale of the problem. The plan includes a commitment to raise awareness of the services offered by credit unions, which can be helpful for those saving for, or paying for, a funeral. Ms Constance launched the plan in Renfrewshire, where Renfrewshire Wide and White Cart Credit Unions have worked together on an innovative scheme to assist residents paying for funerals.

ABCUL’s Scotland Policy Officer, Karen Hurst, has represented the credit union sector on a working group set up by the Scottish Government to look at this issue over the past year, and we welcome the recognition of the Scottish Government of the role credit unions can play in policy solutions. We will continue to work with the Scottish Government to move the plan forward. The plan has also been welcomed by the local MSP, and Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, Derek MacKay.

The Scottish Government have also produced a leaflet, ‘Planning your own Funeral’.

Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance, said of the action plan:

“The death of a loved one is an incredibly difficult time for anyone. It can be even harder when money is tight. We know funeral costs can push people into poverty – and often it is those already in financial hardship who face increased difficulties. That is why we are taking decisive action to tackle this growing issue and have engaged with local authorities, the funeral sector and other support services. I am pleased by the willingness to work together to find solutions that support more affordable funerals.”

Kenneth Keegan from Kenneth Keegan Independent Funeral Directors said:

Where the credit union has been of a great help and support to families is giving them comfort that the costs can be financed and paid for over a period of time which they feel is affordable. Having this support allows the family to arrange the funeral without the worry of finding the funds to cover the various costs associated and go through the bereavement with the knowledge that their loved one will have a funeral service that reflects their values and beliefs.”

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