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Credit Unions

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to support credit unions in their bid to make an impact on high levels of indebtedness to doorstep lenders among poor and vulnerable people; and what support he offers to credit unions to allow them to provide people with an alternative source of affordable credit. (113375)

The Government recognise the work of credit unions in providing affordable credit to those encountering exclusion from mainstream financial services.

The Government have established a Growth Fund of £36 million, administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, to boost the coverage, capacity and sustainability of credit unions and other third sector lenders. The recent pre-Budget report announced the Government will also make funding available to support the training requirements of staff and volunteers working for third sector lenders. Further measures introduced to support the sector include enabling credit unions to offer cash ISAs, and increasing the maximum rate that credit unions are able to charge on loans, in order to increase flexibility to lend to those on low incomes.

The Government will report on next steps for the financial inclusion strategy shortly.