A Scottish Labour government would expand support for credit unions and give every first year high school pupil a £20 deposit savings account with a local credit union in a bid to reduce the influence of pay day lenders in Scotland, within a generation.

The Scottish Labour leader will outline his plans at a visit to a credit union in Liverpool today (Tuesday).

Mr Leonard will highlight the important educational role credit unions can play in responsible lending and will say that too many families on low incomes are still turning to high cost credit to pay for everyday household costs and increasingly clients are in debt because they are falling behind on essential bills.

In addition to expanding support for credit unions in Scotland, Scottish Labour would take action on the personal debt crisis by:

  • Tackling the cost of living by fixing our housing markets with rent reforms and building more homes for social rent
  • Putting more money in working class families’ pockets by increasing child benefit by £260 per year
  • Driving up wages with an industrial strategy to deliver better paid jobs
  • Taking back control of public transport to ensure fairer ticket prices

A UK Labour government would ensure a cap on credit card interest payments and deliver fairer energy prices by taking the energy companies back into public ownership.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“Scotland’s broken economy doesn’t work for working people, with too many families having to turn to high cost credit to pay essential bills. That cannot go on.

Under Labour, the days of predatory companies profiting from the squeezed wages of working people will end. Labour will take real action on the cost of living to ensure more money in the pockets  of working people.

But I also want to see generational change in attitudes towards how people access credit if they need it. That’s why a Scottish Labour government would expand support for credit unions and establish a credit union account for every first year pupil in Scotland – we’ll put £20 in it too.

Credit unions can play a vital role in personal financial education and on the importance of an ethical economy”

This will increase awareness of credit unions among working class families and ensure that generations of young people to come have access to low cost credit.”