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New plan to tackle debt and financial exclusion means more money for credit unions
The Financial Inclusion Strategy for Wales “Taking Everyone into Account” will be launched by Dr Gibbons at Clwyd Coast Credit Union in Rhyl. Clwyd Coast credit union is one of eighteen that will receive a share of the £750,000 available from the all-Wales funding programme. In 2009-10 Clwyd Coast will receive an extra £22,718 to provide core services and employ a manager.
The Financial Inclusion Strategy sets out how the Welsh Assembly Government will work with other organisations to promote financial inclusion and tackle over-indebtedness.
The strategy provides a much needed focus to the work already underway at the UK, Wales and local levels and will enable a consistent approach to be taken in five key areas: access to mainstream financial services; affordable credit and savings; access to money and debt advice; helping people to improve their financial skills; and to maximise their income.
The strategy builds on activity to improve financial literacy in schools, support the credit union movement, widen access to debt advisers and challenge illegal money-lending.
Money and debt advice is invaluable and the Financial Inclusion Champions, which the Assembly Government is jointly funding with the Department for Work and Pensions, is working with a range of organisations such as housing associations, local authorities, debt advice agencies and third sector lenders to increase awareness of sources of affordable credit, debt advice and appropriate insurance products.
The Assembly Government recognises that credit unions play a crucial role in tackling financial exclusion and is committed to providing universal coverage across Wales. European funding has been secured towards an all-Wales programme totalling £750,000 in the current year.
Dr Gibbons said:
“We are committed to tackling financial exclusion and over-indebtedness in Wales. This strategy addresses the barriers to financial inclusion and supports those who can least afford to be financially excluded.
“In the current economic climate, financial exclusion remains a difficult problem for people across Wales. This strategy sets out how we intend to help households through these challenging financial times - widening access to affordable credit and assisting those people facing housing difficulties.
“We want people to be able to plan for their futures with a reasonable degree of security and to have the right information and the skills to avoid getting into financial difficulties, as well as knowing where to find help should they need to.
“By offering access to a variety of credit and savings products, credit unions are able to help many people who may be finding it increasingly difficult to manage their money. I am delighted that we have now reached the historic position of universal credit union coverage across Wales and would encourage everyone to use their local credit union.”