Pledge to expand affordable credit

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An event aimed at tackling financial exclusion in Scotland will take place at the Scottish Parliament

11th December 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Campaigners are coming together to boost affordable credit options for struggling Scots.

Responsible Finance, Carnegie UK Trust and Scotcash are bringing together a group of influencers today (11 December) at the Scottish Parliament to discuss "tackling financial exclusion in Scotland – what more can be done?” 

The evening debate will shine a spotlight on what action the Scottish Government can take to tackle financial exclusion through support for affordable credit.

The event has been created in an attempt to help the most disadvantaged citizens in Scotland are who are facing a series of economic challenges placing them under substantial pressure. Weak income growth, households’ lack of rainy day savings and the implications of the gig economy are all factors contributing to the financial pressure on households.

Carnegie UK has said its vision for affordable credit is that everyone, wherever they live, should have access to more affordable forms of credit, which reduce the cost of borrowing for those outside the mainstream, support financial inclusion and promote equality and fairness.

The evening will discuss the role of responsible finance providers in providing credit to those excluded from mainstream banks, and what role the Scottish Government can play in helping the sector to expand.

It will be hosted by Richard Leonard MSP, leader of the Scottish Labour Party and spokesperson for the economy. Key speakers include Aileen Campbell MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Andy Wightman MSP, communities spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, and Very Reverend John Chalmers, chair of Carnegie UK Trust’s Affordable Credit Action Group.

Chief executive of Responsible Finance, Jennifer Tankard said: “As we approach Christmas, which places many families under financial pressure, it is timely to reflect on the fact that personal debt in the UK continues to rise as households struggle to pay for daily essentials and that 230,000 children in Scotland are living below the poverty line.

“Responsible finance providers, like Scotcash, provide an essential service to many low income households by providing access to affordable credit and financial inclusion support.  We welcome support from the Scottish Government and organisations like Carnegie UK for the sector.  But more action is needed if more households are to get the support they need.”

Leonard said: “Austerity has driven more people into the arms of payday lenders that prey on those struggling to make ends meet, putting them at serious risk of falling further into debt.

“We have to do more to extend the role of responsible lenders and credit unions, and we have to change society and our economy so they work in the interests of the many, not the few.”

Campbell said: “Tackling poverty and inequality is a key aim of the Scottish Government. We want to increase people’s access to affordable financial services in order to improve their financial inclusion which is why we have invested £1 million investment in Carnegie UK Trust’s Affordable Credit Fund to provide genuine alternatives to high cost credit lenders for people on low incomes.

“This sits alongside the new Financial Health Check which ensures people are getting the benefits they are entitled to and not paying more for basic services because they have limited choice, and our work with Health Boards so that midwives and health visitors can refer families directly to local income maximisation services.”