In the Programme for Government set out earlier this year, the Scottish Government stated that it would work to deliver ‘a national credit union awareness raising campaign’ – including ‘collaborating with sector representatives to identify opportunities for targeted local activity on funeral poverty.’

On Tuesday 5th December, Holyrood’s Cross Party Group on Credit Unions had the opportunity to hear directly from representatives of the Scottish Government on these announcements – and to discuss how the credit union sector can work with the Scottish Government to deliver the commitments set out.

The packed meeting was chaired by SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, who has convened the Cross Party Group since the beginning of this parliamentary term.

Following short talks from the representatives Scottish Government, Ruth facilitated a lively and wide-ranging discussion. Credit Unions from across Scotland had the opportunity to express their views about what shape the campaign should take, including who the target audience should be and what should be the key messages and aims.

The meeting also held a discussion on funeral poverty, and how the credit union sector could support the Scottish Government’s ambition to pilot a new funeral bond.

Commenting after the meeting, Ruth said:

“This Cross Party Group meeting provided an excellent opportunity for credit unions to contribute to the Scottish Government’s key commitments on the sector, including a national awareness raising campaign and the piloting of a funeral bond.

The discussion was engaging and insightful, and I look forward to seeing both the campaign and the funeral bond take shape over the coming months and years.

I would like to thank everyone who came along for contributing to such a successful evening.”

Karen Hurst, Policy Officer at ABCUL, added:

“The Cross Party Group on Credit Unions ensures that the sector has the opportunity to engage with MSPs, and so we were pleased that Ruth Maguire hosted this meeting to ensure that as many people as possible had the opportunity to influence the Scottish Government’s plans.

Ruth was a big supporter of her local credit union – 1st Alliance Ayrshire – when she was a Councillor and it’s terrific that she’s now using her influence in Parliament to help the whole sector.

The credit union sector has long enjoyed a strong relationship with both the Scottish Government and MSPs from all parties, and we look forward to continuing to work with both to promote credit unions as a source of fair and ethical saving and lending”.