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£300,000 for junior savers

Published: 9 Mar 2016 12:00

Funding for credit unions to set up schemes in schools.

Children will be encouraged to manage their money from an early age through a new Junior Savers Scheme.

Credit unions will be able to bid for a share of £300,000 Scottish Government funding to develop savers schemes in schools across the country next year.

The new scheme is a response to the recent Scotland's Credit Unions: Investing in our Future report which highlighted the need to improve financial education for young people and recommended partnering with schools to promote schemes run by credit unions.

Swan Savers at Stockbridge Primary School is one of a number of young savers' projects already in place. Launched three years ago in conjunction with Capital Credit Union, P7 pupils work with parents to run the fortnightly savings group in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil announced the funding on a visit to the school. He said:

"Our new Junior Savers Scheme will give children an understanding of saving and managing money from a young age.

"Across the country many credit unions are already working with schools giving children access to money advice and bringing maths to life. This funding will help even more credit unions partner with schools to develop their own successful and sustainable schemes. Credit unions are a secure way of saving. They also provide safer opportunities to borrow money and are an alternative to payday lenders.

"By working in partnership with schools, credit unions can raise awareness of money issues such as saving and budgeting. An understanding of finances from an early age can help to change behaviour and play an important role in our efforts to reduce inequalities."

There are currently more than 100 credit unions in Scotland, with a combined membership of more than 375,000. Six per cent of the Scottish population are enrolled in a credit union, compared to only 1.3 per cent in England, and two per cent in Wales.

Amanda Burton, Acting Head Teacher at Stockbridge Primary School, said:

"Our Swan Savers scheme was very easy to set up in conjunction with Capital Credit Union. It has been a very positive experience for our school because it is run by children and parents for the benefit of children.

"Learning to manage money is an essential life skill for everyone, providing our children with the opportunity to establish good financial habits at an early age should help prepare them to manage the financial choices and decisions they will face throughout their lives."

Karen Hurst, Scotland Policy Officer at the Association of British Credit Unions, said:

"52,000 young people across Scotland are already saving with a credit union, and this Scottish Government investment will help credit unions develop the most effective and sustainable methods of turning today's school pupils into a generation of regular savers and responsible borrowers."

Notes to editors

The Scotland's Credit Unions: Investing in Our Future report outlines the findings of the Credit Union Working Group, established in October 2014 and chaired by Business Minister Fergus Ewing.

Credit unions are non-profit-making organisations whose members can borrow from pooled deposits at low interest rates.

Lanarkshire Credit Union's Savvy Savers project is one of the schemes highlighted in Scotland's Credit Unions: Investing in Our Future report and has helped over 7,000 primary and secondary school pupils save over £650,000. The credit union operates Savvy Savers in 74 primary and five secondary schools in South Lanarkshire alone.