Credit unions offer financial solution

The Scottish Government is urging people in Angus to avoid debt misery in the New Year with help from their local credit union.

The warning from the ‘12 Days of Debtmas’ campaign comes as many feel the pinch in the aftermath of Christmas as credit card bills arrive on top of regular payments, piling up the financial stress as families struggle to manage until payday.

Payday lenders are often seen as a quick fix solution, despite their astronomical interest rates.

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Government is very concerned about the growth of payday lending and the impact this is having on people in Scotland, especially on people who are struggling financially as a result of the Christmas period.

“January is traditionally a tough month, and we want people in Scotland to be aware that there are other options if they are struggling financially.

“The 12 Days of Debtmas campaign was launched to help raise awareness of credit unions as an affordable loan option and the role they can play this festive period both in the lead up to Christmas day and in the weeks that follow, and we have been pleased by the response.

“Credit unions are available to people throughout Scotland and offer a range of loan products at manageable rates of interest and affordable repayment options, many within a short timescale.”

There are over 100 credit unions in Scotland, used by more than 300,000 people. Often misconceived as the poor man’s bank the credit union offers a range of financial services and support and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority.

Allison Barnes, Scotland manager at Money Advice Service, added: “Payday loans are one way of getting cash fast but they do come with risks.

“This is why we are supporting the Scottish Government’s 12 Days of Debtmas campaign which is encouraging people to look at alternatives to payday loans along with the benefits of saving with a Credit Union.”