Credit unions in Parliament
Most credit unions are fortunate to receive valuable support from local politicians, including MPs, Members of the Scottish Parliament, and Welsh Assembly. There is widespread recognition of the benefits credit unions can bring to individuals and communities.
Mentions for Credit Unions in Parliament
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid MP, announces a consultation on raising the credit union interest rate cap
18 December: Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid MP, announces a Government consultation on raising the interest rate cap for credit union loans from 2% per month on the reducing balance of a loan to 3% per month or from 26.8% APR to 42.6% APR. This consultation resulted from the DWP's feasibility study for its Credit Union Expansion Project which recommended increasing credit union interest rates in order to enable more viable small-sum, short-term loans.
Lords debate credit unions
13 December: The vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions, Lord Kennedy of Southwark, led a debate to take note of the work of credit unions. Other speakers included new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, former Chair of the Commons Treasury Select Committee, Lord McFall, Lord Collins of Highbury for the Opposition and Lord Freud for the Government. The debate was notable for the cross-party support which was expressed in the chamber.
Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP, recognises importance of credit unions
10 December: Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP, recognises the role that credit unions have the potential to play in supporting the implementation of welfare reforms and competing with high cost lenders in an exchange with APPG on Credit Unions Chair, Damian Hinds MP, around the provision of jam jar budgeting accounts in support of Universal Credit.
Importance of credit unions stressed in debate around capping interest rates for high cost lenders
28 November: In a much-anticipated debate in the House of Lords around the proposal to provide the Financial Conduct Authority with the power to cap the cost of credit for high cost lenders, the importance of providing affordable alternative lenders such as credit unions is emphasised by various speakers including the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds and Labour Party intellectual, Lord Glasman.
Role credit unions play in supporting prisoner rehabilitation emphasised
26 November: Ministry of Justice Minister, Jeremy Wright MP, emphasised the role that credit unions can play in supporting prisoner rehabilitation through the provision of inclusive financial products - particularly bank accounts - in response to a question from MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East and Chair of the Penal Reform APPG, Paul Goggins.
Former speaker supports credit unions
22 November: Former speaker of the House of Commons, Lord Martin of Springburn, highlights the role that credit unions play in helping redundant workers become self-employed.
Government's commitment to credit union development emphasised in the Lords
13 November: Lord Sassoon, HM Treasury spokesman in the Lords, sets out the Government's commitment to the development of credit unions and the range of measures it has taken to support their continued growth.
Tim Loughton MP questions Government Deparments on support for credit unions
BIS Minister Jo Swinson highlights Government's Credit Union Expansion Project
23 October: In response to questions around the case for capping the cost of credit, Jo Swinson MP, BIS Minister, highlights the Government's efforts to expand credit unions as an alternative to high cost lenders through the Credit Union Expansion Project.
APPG on Credit Unions Chair, Damian Hinds MP, highlights credit unions' role in providing jam jar accounts
10 September: DWP Minister, Steve Webb MP, ackowledges the potential role of credit unions in supporting people to manage their money following the introduction of Universal Credit in response to a question from Damian Hinds MP, Chair of the APPG on Credit Unions, which highlights the cost-effective jam jar budgeting accounts which many credit unions are developing.
DWP Minister confirms consideration of credit unions as support for Universal Credit claimants
3 September: Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling MP, confirms in response to a written question from Yvonne Fovargue MP that the government has been in discussions with credit unions as well as other providers in order to provide support to Universal Credit claimants when payment of housing benefit is made direct to the claimant.
Need for specialist treatment of credit unions under new regulatory structure recognised
25 July: Lords Treasury spokesman, Lord Sassoon, confirms that he would expect the new Prudential Regualtory Authority to make special efforts to put in place a suitable framework of regulation and supervision for credit unions based on the reality of their operations in response to a question from Baroness Kramer.
Lords show their support for credit union expansion plans
19 July: In a short debate instigated by Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions - Lords from all parties express their support for credit unions and the importance of expanding their services. DWP Minister responsible for the Expansion Project, Lord Freud, responded making clear the Government's vision of creating a self-sustaining sector.
Adjournment debate secured by Madeleine Moon MP and responded to by DWP minister Steve Webb
10 July: In a debate secured by Madeleine Moon MP, the role of smaller credit unions was emphasised and clarification was sought on some of the issues raised within the recent DWP feasibility report on credit union expansion.
Pensions Minister issues written statement on credit union modernisation feasibility report
10 May: Pensions Minister, Steve Webb MP, issues a written statement outlining the findings of the DWP's feasibility report on the case for the expansion and modernisation of the credit union sector.
Business Minister confirms that work continues on devloping partnership between credit unions and the Post Office
1 May: In response to a written question from Mark Lancaster MP on plans to make credit union services available through the Post Office, Business Minister Mark Prisk sets out the ways in which credit unions already work with the Post Office network and indicates that work ongoing in the Department for Work & Pensions will determine how proposals to make credit union services available at the Post Office might progress.
Pensions Minister pays tribute to the work of credit unions
23 April: Pensions Minister, Steve Webb MP, pays tribute to the work of Erewash Credit Union in Derbyshrire and others like it around the country and confirms that the Department will be making a statement soon on their plans for further support for the sector having received a feasibility report on how best to design that support.
Work & Pensions Minister confirms that an announcement will be made soon as to further Government support for credit unions
18 April: In response to a written question from Julian Smith MP, Work & Pensions Minister, Steve Webb MP, says that the Government is considering the results of a feasibility study around future support for credit unions which will be published shortly in advance of a Ministerial announcement on the Government's intention going forward.
Treasury outlines support it has given to credit union development
16 April: In response to a written question from Mark Lancaster MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasrury, Mark Hoban MP, affirms the Government's commitment to supporting credit union development before setting out the legislative measures which the Government has taken in this respect.
Government sets out recent legislative reforms in response to written question
26 March: Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP, outlines the provisions of the Legislative Reform (Industrial & Provident Socieities and Credit Unions) Order 2011 in response to a written question from Mark Lancaster MP on steps the Government is taking to support the sector.
Peer hopes to see credit unions play a role in credit easing
22 March: In debate following the budget, Baroness Kramer, Liberal Democrat Peer and member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions states her hope that credit unions will be included in credit easing measures citing the work that the Obama Administration in the US has done to increase credit union lending to SMEs there.
Government confirms that update on the DWP modernisation and expansion fund will be announced soon
1 March: In response to a question from All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions vice-chair, Lord Kennedy of Southwark, Welfare Reform Minister, Lord Freud, confirms that the Government has now received the results of a feasibility study into the potential investment of £73 million in credit union modernisation and expansion and an announcement on its findings will be made soon.
Debate on Jam Jar accounts highlights the valuable role of credit unions
28 February: In a debate secured by All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions Chair, Damian Hinds MP, the role that credit unions can play in providing cost-effective budgeting accounts is emphasised and the Government again confirms its commitment to supporting the development of such accounts, and credit unions generally.
Cross-party support for the role credit unions can play in providing access in rural areas
21 February: In a debate around rural bank closures, credit unions are cited repeatedly by Members of all parties as a means of ensuring access to financial services for rural communities. Responding for the Government, Assistant Whip, Chloe Smith MP, makes clear the Government's belief in the valuable role credit unions can play in providing choice and competition in financial services.
Pensions Minister cites work underway to develop bugeting accounts through credit unions
21 February: Steve Webb MP, DWP Pensions Minister, cites work his department is conducting to develop cost-effective budgeting accounts through credit unions and others as part of preparations for supporting the introduction of Universal Credit in response to a written question from Justin Tomlinson MP.
Green MP, Caroline Lucas, makes the case for more diversity in financial services and a greater role for credit unions in a debate around banking reform
7 February: Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party Leader, cites the need for greater diversity in financial services and a bigger role for credit unions and community banking in the closing remarks of her speech in a debate on refom of the banking system.
Lord Freud makes clear government commitment to credit union development in Lords debate
2 February: Lord Freud, Welfare Reform Minister, makes clear the Government's support for credit union expansion whilst highlighting some of the sector's challenges in a debate arising from a question from APPG on Credit Unions Vice Chair, Lord Kennedy of Southwark.
Government once more emphasises its commitment to linking credit unions and the Post Office
24 January: Minister for Postal Affairs, Ed Davey, illustrates partnership working between the credit union sector and the Post Office in a statement on the future of the network and once more emphasises the Government's commitment to expanding these links as the credit union sector develops.
Government Whip in the Lords sets out how devolved Social Fund could be used to support credit unions
17 January: Government Whip in the Lords, Lord de Mauley, cites plans in Greater Manchester for devolved Social Fund money to be used to expand the local credit union as a key innovation under plans to move the funding of Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans for Living Expenses to local authorities and devolved governments from 2013.
Conservative supporter of co-operatives and mutuals emphasises support for credit unions
11 January: In an unrelated debate, Conservative MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, Jesse Norman, emphasises his suport for credit unions and co-operatives and the role they play to empower and support people.
Government spokesman underlines role of credit unions in providing affordable credit
10 January: In response to a question from Lord Newby, Government spokesman in the Lords for the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, Baronness Wilcox, emphasises the Government's position for injecting competition into the market for high-cost credit by supporting credit union development as an affordable alternative.
Credit unions' role in increasing competition in financial services
19 December: Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP talks about credit unions having a key role to play in increasing competition on the high street.
Credit unions' role in supporting move to Universal Credit
12 December: DWP Minister, Lord Freud, references the work that his department is doing with credit unions at the report stage of the Welfare Reform Bill. Credit unions are among a group of agencies that the Government is working with to provide budgeting accounts and support to those in receipt of Universal Credit.
Credit unions debated as part of solution to problematic debt
1 December: Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions, Damian Hinds MP, stresses the role that a strengthened credit union sector can play in supporting those struggling with excessive debt in a backbench business debate on Debt Advice and Debt Management.
Shadow Minister for Civil Society cites credit unions
25 November: Shadow Minister for Civil Society, Gareth Thomas MP, cites London Mutual Credit Union and its affordable pay day loan scheme as an example of social enterprise and the role that they can play in a more responsible financial services industry.
MPs debate credit unions and financial inclusion
23 November: MPs of all parties speak in support of credit unions, their importance and their continued development in a Westminster Hall debate, 'Credit unions and financial inclusion', secured by Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions, Damian Hinds MP, and coinciding with the APPG's Credit Union Fair & Reception. Employment Minister, Chris Grayling MP, once more sets out the Government's commitment to expanding the role of the credit union sector.
Treasury Minister highlights support for credit unions as evidence of commitment to mutuals
21 November: Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP, cites the support that Government has provided to the credit union sector in response to a question on what the Government has done to support mutual financial services in the debate around the announcement of the sale of Northern Rock back into the private sector.
Government enthusiasm for proposal to require high cost lenders to provide information on credit unions
3 November: In response to a question from APPG on Credit Unions vice-chair, Lord Kennedy of Southwark, Baroness Wilcox - Business Innovation and Skills Minister in the Lords - responds positively to the suggestion that high cost creditors should be required to alert customers to the availability of cheaper credit from credit unions.
APPG members question DWP Minster on support for credit unions
24 October: APPG on Credit Unions members - Jesse Norman, Jeremey Lefroy, Chris Leslie and Madeline Moon - question DWP Minister Steve Webb on steps the Government is taking to support credit unions. The Minister confirms that DWP has invested £11.8 million since March this year and is currently considering further measures to support the sector's development. He also notes the recent passage of much-needed legislative reforms through the House of Lords.
Following approval by Committee, House of Lords vote to pass reform to Credit Unions Act
20 October: The Legislative Reform (Industrial & Provident Societies and Credit Unions) Order is debated and approved by the House of Lords, the debate fittingly taking place on International Credit Union Day. APPG Vice-Chair, Lord Kennedy, and Baronness Kramer make impassioned speeches about the value of credit unions and the importance of the LRO's long-awaited transformational reforms.
Vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions, Mark Durkan, queries NI regualtion
19 October: Mark Durkan MP questions the Government on progress towards moving Northern Irish credit unions into FSA regualtion. This move is currently being legislated for and a joint FSA-HM Treasury consultation is ongoing. The move will enhance protection for Northern Irish credit union members and allow Northern Irish credit unions to offer a wider range of products and services.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury sets out Government measures to support credit unions
17 October: Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, sets out the Government's support for credit unions, including the DWP's £73 million modernisation and expansion fund, in response to a written question from Willie Bain MP. The Minister also briefly discusses the ways in which credit unions support financial inclusion.
Lords Treasury spokesman highlights the valuable role of credit unions
17 October: Government Treasury spokesman in the Lords, Lord Sassoon, makes supportive comments on the role that credit unions can play in a debate around the introduction of legislation to begin the process of moving Northern Irish credit unions into FSA regulation. The debate is dominated by technical, procedural questions around the Government's adherence to due process but all support the objectives of the Order under discussion.
Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP calls for debate on banks charging credit unions
15 September: Tom Greatrex, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, asks the leader of the House, Sir George Young, for a debate around recent reports that RBS and Clydesdale Bank have begun charging credit unions for services previously provided free.
Chancellor of the Exchequer stresses support for credit unions
12 September: Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, mentions action the Government has taken to support the development of credit unions following questioning from Sheila Gilmore around steps the Government is taking to support financial mutuals. This took place during the debate around the Independent Commission on Banking's report. Jesse Norman later expresses his support for credit unions also.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury explains Government support for credit unions
9 September: Mark Hoban, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, sets out the Goverment's measures to support the credit union sector - including legislative reform and investment - in response to a question relating to the introduction of a US-style Community Reinvestment Act in the UK.
Treasury Minister sets out Government support for credit unions
9 September: Treasury Minister, David Gauke, sets out the measures the Government is taking to support credit unions including legislative reforms and investment in response to a question from Graeme Morrice on corporation tax for credit unions.
Praise for 'outstanding role' of credit unions
19 July: Tom Clarke references the 'outstanding role' credit unions play in supporting his constituents to manage their financial affairs.
DWP Pensions Minister explains Government support for credit unions
18 July: DWP Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, responds to a written question from Laurence Robertson by giving details of the ongoing feasibility study which will determine if and how the Government invests £73 million in the modernisation and expansion of credit unions.
Prime Minister stresses the importance of expanding credit unions
13 July: At Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron points out the Government's commitment to expanding the credit union sector in response to a question concerning debt advice and the malpractice of Debt Management Companies from APPG on Credit Unions Secretary, Yvonne Fovargue.
APPG Chair stresses credit union role in offender rehabilitation
29 June: Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions, Damian Hinds, stresses the importance of financial inclusion for offender rehabilitation and the role that some credit unions play in providing financial services to inmates both before and upon release.
Government Minister talks of support for credit unions working with the Post Office
9 June: BIS Minister, Ed Davey, stresses the Government's hope that proposals for credit union services to be made available through the Post Office will be successfully implemented in a debate around the Postal Services Bill.
DWP Minister stresses role of credit unions in supporting welfare to work
24 May: DWP Minister, Chris Grayling, stresses the Government's support for credit unions in recognition of the role that the sector plays in providing affordable financial services to those unfairly excluded and the support this provides to those looking for work. Chris makes reference to credit unions which are working in Jobcentre Plus branches across the country.
Credit unions' role in rural areas highlighted
29 March: Members from all parties highlight the role credit unions have to play in providing financial services to remote rural communites in a Westminster Hall debate. Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP, takes the opportunity to once again reiterate the Government's support for credit unions both in the form of legislative reforms and recently announced DWP investment.
HM Treasury emphasise support for credit unions
18th March: In response to a debate concerning the withdrawal of financial services from parts of London, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP, outlines the important role credit unions have to play as part of a diverse financial services industry and the support government are therefore providing through both investment and legislative reform.
Credit unions' role in Welfare Reform
9th March: Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions, Damian Hinds MP, outlines the potential for credit unions to become involved in supporting the reformed Social Fund whilst setting out the limits to how far credit unions should be seen as a replacement for the Fund.
All-Party support in the Lords
8th March: In response to a question from Lord Kennedy of Southwark, Treasury spokesman in the Lords, Lord Sassoon, outlines the Government's commitment to supporting credit unions including the recent announcement of a £73 million modernisation fund which is warmly welcomed on all sides of the House.
£73 million investment modernisation fund for credit unions announced
3rd March: Work and Pensions Minister, Chris Grayling MP, issues a written statement which announces a £73 million modernisation fund for the credit unoin movement within which an amount is set aside for the development of a shared banking platform for the sector subject to fesibility studies. Grayling: "I want to see credit unions—in partnership with the Post Office—providing more services, more efficiently, to more people."
Big Society Minister: "Credit unions extraordinarily important"
2nd March: The Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, who has cross-cabinet responsibility for rolling out the Government's Big Society agenda, identifies the credit union movement as "extraordinarily important" as part of the social investment market and the Big Society Bank at ministerial questiontime.
Credit unions and the Post Office
1st March: Government spokesman in the Lords, Baroness Wilcox, affirms the Government's commitment to strengthening links between the Post Office network and credit unions.
Big Society Bank
28th February: Conservative MP Robert Halfon identifies the crossover between credit unions and the Big Society Bank as ethical, social lenders in a debate around the proposal.
Business Secretary underlines Government support
17th February: Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, reaffirms the Government's commitment to supporting credit unions in response to a question from Stella Creasy MP on regulation of high cost credit.
Support in the Lords for credit unions and the Post Office
16 February: Baroness Kramer, Baroness Kennedy and Lord Kennedy are all supportive of plans to make credit union services available through the Post Office in the Second Reading of the Postal Services Bill in the Lords.
Legislative Reform on the way
16 February: Mark Hoban MP Financial Secretary to the Treasury, confirms the Legislative Reform Order for credit unions will be laid "next month" in a debate called by Gareth Thomas MP, Chair of the Co-operative Party, around the Future of Financial Mutuals which saw supportive statements from all parties.
Cross Party Support for credit unions in a debate around capping credit costs
3 February: Credit unions receieved praise and calls for further support from all sides of the House in a backbench business debate to discuss a motion tabled by Stella Creasy MP which seeks to call on Government to introduce a system of caps on the total costs of different forms of credit.
David Cameron mentions credit unions twice in as many weeks at Prime Minister's Questions.
19th January: Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Labour): The north-east illegal moneylending team has a record of catching loan sharks and setting up credit unions in Easterside, Middlesbrough to encourage saving and safe lending. Worryingly, after all that hard work, the Department for Communities and Local Government website has signposted vulnerable people to loan companies offering rates of up to 2,689% APR. In light of that, will the Prime Minister please meet me to review his decision on the closure of that team?
David Cameron (Prime Minister; Witney, Conservative): I am very happy to arrange a meeting between the hon. Gentleman and the DCLG to discuss this issue. I think there is unity across the House that we should try to encourage credit unions and try to get people out of the hands of loan sharks. That is our policy and that is what we want to do, so I shall happily arrange that meeting.
26th January: Stella Creasy (Walthamstow, Labour): Last week the Prime Minister said something that I agree with: he said that we needed to do something about loan-sharking, so will he join me next week in supporting the motion to cut the cost of credit and support the poorest consumers in Britain with protection from those companies?
David Cameron (Prime Minister; Witney, Conservative): At the risk of building on what is clearly a blossoming friendship already, I will look carefully at what the hon. Lady says. On the issue of controlling loan sharks, one part should be encouraging credit unions. There is all-party support for that. Sometimes we have to be careful as we regulate that we do not drive out responsible operators and bring in loan sharks, so we must get the balance right. I will look carefully at what the hon. Lady is saying and perhaps get back to her.