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Parties unveil manifesto pledges

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19 May 17

Political parties have revealed their position on credit union issues ahead of next month’s General Election.

The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats published their manifestos this week, which spelled out their proposals on a number of issues relevant to Britain’s credit unions.

The governing Conservative Party are seeking re-election on a platform which includes a commitment to strengthen the hand of regulators on consumer protection, with clearer terms and conditions on financial products and more scope for consumers to compare products using online comparison tools. The Conservatives also commit to making more banking services available through the Post Office to support rural communities, and they pledge a new six week statutory breathing space provision for people with unmanageable debt in England and Wales (debt policy in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament).

The Labour Party is seeking support to form a Government on a manifesto which includes a commitment to legislate to ensure a more diverse banking system and a pledge to use legislation and investment to support co-operatives with a view to doubling the size of Britain’s co-operative sector. Labour also pledges to use the Post Office to ensure a full range of banking services are available in every community.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto highlights the need to address lack of access to bank accounts and low levels of savings, pledging to implement the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion and requiring major banks to support the growth of a local banking sector. The Liberal Democrats also propose making financial inclusion a statutory objective of the Financial Conduct Authority and including financial literacy as part of a “curriculum for life” in state-funded schools in England.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “We are proud that the credit union movement enjoys support across the political spectrum, and the party manifestos prove that even in a snap election against the backdrop of Brexit, there is an understanding and support for some of the credit union sector’s key policy priorities. We look forward to continuing to work constructively with all the parties in the new Parliament.”

As well as the parties contesting seats across Britain, the Plaid Cymru manifesto includes a pledge to ensure access to local banking services, and the SNP and Green manifestos are expected to be published next week. The General Election is being held on Thursday 8 June.

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