Scottish Credit Union Charter 2017
In advance of the 2017 Council elections, ABCUL Scotland worked with parties and candidates to raise awareness of the issues affecting credit unions. We put together a 'charter', which we asked them to support.
Credit Union Charter 2017:
Credit unions and local authorities have a long track record of working together to advance financial inclusion and provide access to affordable and appropriate financial products and services to local residents and communities. We hope that Councils will continue to support credit unions in the following areas.
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.
We were delighted with how much enthusiasm for credit unions we found - several of the national manifestos refer directly to credit unions:
- The Scottish Greens, set out their support for the sector by committing to: "Support credit unions and local banks that understand the local business community, offer alternatives to high-interest pay-day lending, and are more resilient than the ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks of today."
- The Scottish Liberal Democrats also noted they would "Support the provision of fair and affordable banking, insurance and financial services, and the expansion of credit unions and advice services."
We have also been pleased that all 50 Co-operative party candidates standing throughout Scotland supported the Credit Union Charter.
In Glasgow, where there is a real concentration of credit unions, all three parties who published city-specific manifestos recognise the importance of the sector:
- The SNP noted that "We will 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 Labour Party in Glasgow, in their manifesto, set out their plans 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 Scottish Green Party, in their manifesto, noted that they would support “access to affordable credit through support for credit unions”.
We also had support for credit unions in manifestos across Scotland:
- In Stirling there has been support in local manifestos published by Labour and the SNP .
- Perth & Kinross Credit Union was personally singled out for phrase in the SNP's manifesto.
- As was Discovery Credit Union in the local SNP manifesto.
- In Renfrewshire, Labour highlighted the work of local credit unions, and pledged to further support them.
We would also like to thank all of the candidates who have contacted us to pledge their individual support!