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Welsh Government needs to get their act together on Credit Unions

2013 Mawrth 14 1:07 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has called on Welsh Ministers to get their act together on the future of credit unions after an independent report accused them of sending "mixed messages", and warned that many could close or reduce in size this year.

Mr. Black said: "The report concludes that the Welsh Government is expecting Credit Unions to deliver key social outcomes without being given the necessary resources to do that job. Ministers want Credit Unions to grow and become self-sufficient in money terms but many of them are too small and are struggling to break-even. Without a coherent plan and sufficient resources, nothing will change.

"It is perfectly possible to design a mechanism whereby credit unions both become self-sufficient, and assist in achieving social outcomes we all agree are desirable. What is not possible is to encourage credit unions to achieve the second while expecting them to use the resources they are growing to achieve the first. That way lies disaster.

"That is why we need a continuation of the Credit Union Action Plan from September 2013. As the report makes clear much has been achieved by the credit union sector despite the Welsh Government's confusion. If that progress is to continue, simply pulling the plug this September is not an option.

"The Welsh Government must continue to support credit unions to achieve self-sufficiency in the next three years, whilst paying them to achieve agreed social objectives.

"Some Welsh credit unions have already signed agreements with local authorities and housing providers to do just that, and are sharing that learning with others in the movement. Government Ministers should learn from this, and conclude similar agreements."