This article was written by the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL), World Council's direct member organization in the United Kingdom.
Credit unions across Scotland will now be able to apply to two dedicated Scottish Government funds for support to continue their work in helping vulnerable families as they deal with the financial consequences of coronavirus.
The new Credit Union Resilience Loan Fund, to be managed by Social Investment Scotland, and the Third Sector Resilience Fund will provide grants and loans totaling more than £20 million, available to be shared by more than 100 credit unions across the country.
“There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of pressure on credit unions all over the United Kingdom at the moment. In all cases the effect of the current situation is being experienced by some of the most vulnerable in our society – and in lot of cases it is these individuals who rely on their credit union for affordable loans," said ABCUL Chief Executive Robert Kelly. “I am delighted to see the Scottish Government launch details of two funds that credit unions in Scotland are eligible to apply to. The Third Sector Resilience Fund with £20m of support available and the dedicated Credit Union Resilience Loan Fund are clear support measures. ABCUL has been working closely with the UK Government and the Scottish and Welsh Governments to deliver effective support to those credit unions who need it most.”
Right at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak the UK Government delivered a clear message in the Chancellors Budget that it was strongly supportive of backing the credit union sector and aiding its expansion through a programme of legislative reform in the coming months.
This reform agenda will be critical in ensuring the credit union sector becomes more relevant across society, with transformation and innovation across our range of products and services.
“ABCUL has hosted online conference sessions with credit unions from all over Britain to identify issues of emerging concern, and ensure these are addressed and the business strengthened to deliver essential financial support to members and to staff,” added Robert Kelly. “There have been tremendous examples of partnership working. The voices of our credit union leaders are being channelled to government in a robust and effective way and the response has been hugely encouraging thus far.”