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Credit Unions

Volume 456: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps the Government are taking to promote credit unions; (118102)

(2) whether he plans to increase Government support available to credit unions.

The Government recognise the valuable work of credit unions in providing affordable credit and savings products to those on low incomes.

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 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.