Delyn MP David Hanson has welcomed moves to legislate in order help the Co-operative finance sector grow as part of the Government’s strategy to promote financial inclusion.
The Co-operative finance sector, because of the unique way in which they run, often provides finance to those who can not find it elsewhere or in hard to reach communities. Many also have high ethical investment standards not seen in other financial sectors and have been the drivers for social change in Britain and around the world.
There are over 4,300 Co-operatives in the UK with around 11 million members. The Co-op sector employs around 200,000 people, contributes around £27billion in turn over to the economy every year and owns around £8.5billion of assets. It is a major financial sector which the Government hopes to make stronger through upcoming changes.
Change is needed to update many laws governing Cooperative Finance to bring them up to date and in line with other financial sectors. The Government will bring forward legislation, in various forms, to help the sector grow even stronger such as reducing red tape and creating a level playing field for the sector against other forms of finance.
The Government has recently announced funding of £135 million to fund initiatives to promote financial inclusion. These include:
- £38 million to increase consumer access to affordable credit through credit unions and other third sector lenders;
- £76 million to fund free face-to-face money advice to financially excluded people
- £12 million to fund dedicated staff to work to promote financial inclusion locally, with a focus on increasing the availability and awareness of home contents insurance for low-income people, in particular in areas affected by the recent flood events.
A high proportion of these services will be given by mutual and co-operative financial services.
David Hanson said:
“I welcome this commitment as Cooperative and Mutual societies play a hugely important role in the economic and social wellbeing of the United Kingdom.
“The sector has grown enormously in the last ten years and these reforms will help it to develop further, helping it to expand and promote its social and ethical agenda across areas like Flintshire.”