MOHAMMAD Asghar AM says the Welsh Government needs to support responsible lending and credit unions (Argus, Tues, 14th Jan 14). He seems to be unaware we are doing just that, so let me take the opportunity to tell him and your readers the action we are taking.
We have been funding credit unions since 2010 and have helped increase membership to approximately 73,000. Our aim is to have six per cent of the population as members by 2020.
Only this week I announced a further £1.2 million of support for a number of projects, including a publicity campaign, money management education and the development of online services.
Credit unions provide access to affordable borrowing and can be especially suitable for people who find themselves unable to borrow from the mainstream lenders or even the payday loan firms we see popping up everywhere. We want credit unions to develop new products to meet the needs of today’s customers.
We are working with credit unions so they can offer a range of services such as accessible loans, encouraging savings and providing budgeting accounts aimed at helping people cope with the new housing benefits rules being imposed by the Westminster government.
These are not just warm words of encouragement, but direct investment so that credit unions can continue to support our communities.
Jeff Cuthbert AM Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty