Scottish Affairs Committee Press Notice

Announcement 17 of Session 2007-08

18 March 2008

New Inquiry - Credit Unions in Scotland

The Scottish Affairs Committee has agreed to undertake a new inquiry into Credit Unions in Scotland. The inquiry will examine:

€ The future for Credit Unions in Scotland;

€ The problem of financial exclusion and financial literacy;

€ Affordable lending, credit and debt.

The Committee recently published a substantial Report on Poverty in Scotland. In the course of that inquiry, the Committee found that "A thriving industry has grown up based upon making money from the poor and those who lack the financial education to fully understand what a particular offer entails. By adding interest and penalty charges to the original loan, lenders lock people into poverty and a never-ending cycle of debt."

The Committee recognised that credit unions are an important alternative to mainstream lenders and to companies that charge extortionate interest rates. It has therefore decided to follow up its work on poverty with a new inquiry into Government support for credit unions and the problem of financial exclusion in Scotland.

The Committee welcomes written evidence from interested parties on any, or all, aspects of the inquiry by 19 May 2008. The Committee will be arranging further public oral evidence sessions, and details of these will be announced in due course.

Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of the inquiry and should not as a rule exceed 2,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should include an executive summary.

Specific Committee Information: 0207 219 6125