Dissolution of Parliament 23/3/2016

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Angus MacDonald MSP calls for a Credit Union Nation

 

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has joined calls to make Scotland a Credit Union Nation

Roll out of credit unions in Falkirk District’s schools must be a priority

This week in the Scottish Parliament, Angus MacDonald MSP was lending his support to the Credit Union Charter, which the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) has launched outlining the key ways the Scottish Parliament can help improve the nation’s financial health by supporting credit unions.

Credit unions are financial services providers locally owned and democratically controlled by the people who use them. They do not have any external shareholders or investors looking to generate profits from them.

The Credit Union Charter calls for employers to make saving and repaying loans via payroll deduction a standard workplace benefit for people across Scotland, and for every school in the country to have a credit union champion to help pupils learn about saving and budgeting.

Angus MacDonald MSP said:

“I’m delighted to support ABCUL’s Credit Union Charter. Encouraging regular saving and responsible borrowing is a key way to build financial health, and credit unions play a vital role in Falkirk district in helping people get – and stay – on top of their finances.

“Research has shown that money worries and debt problems can lead to ill health, absence from work and low productivity. So educating young people about money and making it easy for adults to save and borrow with a credit union via their employer can help save public funds and boost the Scottish economy.”

“To that end, I am keen to see the role out of credit unions in our schools. I have asked the Scottish Government following question in Parliament: ‘To ask the Scottish Government how it promotes and supports credit unions in schools ?’, and hope for a positive response in the coming days. I hope to promote the idea of school credit unions in Falkirk district and throughout Scotland in the coming weeks and months.”

ABCUL Scotland Policy Officer Karen Hurst said:

“It’s no coincidence that the most successful credit union movements around the world have established close links with employers to help people build up savings and access affordable credit when they need to.

“We’re delighted to have the support of Angus MacDonald MSP for our campaign to make Scotland a Credit Union Nation – something that would benefit the whole country.”

Scotland has just over 100 credit unions serving more than 375,000 people – including 52,000 junior savers – who are saving £454 million and borrowing £276 million. Everyone in Scotland has a credit union they can join, and with 7 per cent of the population using a credit union, Scotland has the fourth highest level of credit union membership in Europe (after only the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Poland).

ANGUS MACDONALD MSP WELCOMES PROGRESSIVE REFORM TO COUNCIL TAX

 

PLANS ‘FAIRER, PROGRESSIVE AND LOCALLY EMPOWERING’

 Local MSP Angus MacDonald has welcomed the Scottish Government’s plans for an ambitious, progressive set of reforms to the Council Tax – which will see the rates paid by those in the highest bands pay more, with the money raised invested in schools across Falkirk district.

 As announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this week, rates paid by those in Bands E, F, G and H will be adjusted – in a move which will generate £100 million to be invested in education, while leaving 75 per cent of households unaffected.

 The planned reforms will also provide additional support for those on low incomes – with low income families across all bands seeing an extension of the council tax reduction scheme, benefitting 77,000 families by an average of £173 per year

 There will also be additional support for 54,000 low income families – more than one third of which are pensioner households – living in higher band properties, who will be entitled to an exemption from the changes through the council tax reduction scheme.

 The SNP has also been clear that if re-elected in May, we consult with councils on the assignment of a portion of devolved income tax raised in Scotland – reducing local authorities’ reliance on funding from central government and making councils more accountable to local people.  It is estimated that when the planned changes take effect, 75 per cent of local government funding will be locally grounded.

 Commenting, Angus MacDonald MSP said:

 “The reform to council tax announced by the First Minister this week meets the key tests of making the system fairer, more progressive and locally empowering, in line with the principles agreed by all the parties on the Commission on Local Tax Reform.

 “The progressive plans will see three quarters of households in the Falkirk Council area paying the same or even less, while those at the top will pay a bit more in order to fund a major new investment in our local schools.

“We’ll also see new support for low-income families – supporting 140,000 children and their families to the tune of an average of £173 per year – and additional protection for low-income households in higher bands, many of whom are pensioners.

 “While Labour and the Tories are planning to hike taxes across the board, hurting even the lowest-income workers in Falkirk district, the SNP in government has chosen to take a different approach – asking those at the top to pay a bit more, while providing additional financial relief to low income families.   This isn’t just the right approach to take – but the only progressive option and other parties claiming to favour fair taxation should back these plans.

“I also welcome the move to consult with councils on a bold plan to assign a portion of devolved income tax – which would be a welcome move in empowering Scotland’s local authorities, incentivising councils to support economic growth and in making Falkirk Council more accountable to local people.

“Overall, these plans will protect the vast majority of household incomes in Falkirk district support investment in local schools and make local taxation both fairer and more accountable.  These are proposals I will be proud to campaign on – and opposition politicians in Falkirk East should join me in backing these fair, progressive reforms.”

 

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2016

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