The armed forces need a dedicated refit union able to help with loans and savings. That is the message I'm sending to the Government as the campaign for the creation of a military credit union gathers pace.
I'm proud to be a supporter of co-operatives and mutualism. One way in which co-operatives can help us all is in the form of credit unions - small financial services companies run and owned by its members. Plymouth already has two successful credit unions operating across the city and today, I'm adding my voice to the campaign for a dedicated credit union for the armed forces.
I want to see a situation where the Government supports the creation of a military credit union. In the United States armed forces personnel have a huge military credit union that supports them and their family - Navy Federal. It has over four million members and assets worth billions of dollars.
If a military credit union is good enough for the US armed forces, it should be good enough for Britain's armed forces too.
Labour and Co-operative MPs and Peers have been making the case for a military credit union for many years. I think it is time the Government supports this effort and recognises the particular financial challenges felt by those serving in the armed forces, veterans and their families. You can find out more about this proposal here. You can also read why the Royal British Legion thinks this is a good idea in their Manifesto here.
Read my press release below about why I'm supporting the creation of a credit union for the armed forces. Let me know what you think about this proposal.
NEWS FROM LABOUR: Luke Pollard calls on Government to back creation of a military credit union for Plymouth’s service personnel and their families.
Labour’s Candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport is joining efforts to encourage the Government to create a credit union for the armed forces. Pointing to the success of Navy Federal, a credit union providing loans and savings for US military personnel, Labour wants to see a similar arrangement created for UK armed forces personnel.
Armed forces personnel and their families can experience difficulty in accessing credit and other financial products as a result of time spent overseas and moving home frequently. They are also being preyed on by pay day lenders charging extorionate levels of interest - some over 3000% interest.
In the United States, employees of the Defence department and their families are offered savings accounts, loans, credit cards and mortgages through a federal backed credit union – the largest example of such a scheme in the world, with over 4m members and $50billion invested.
Luke Pollard, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, is calling on the Government take action to ensure UK military personnel, their families, and veterans aren’t at a disadvantage when accessing finance.
Luke Pollard said:
“Plymouth is steeped in military history and is home today to a large armed forces community. Their commitment keeps us safe and it is right that we make sure they are fully supported for the sacrifices they make.
“I’ve had military personnel tell me that they’ve resorted to payday lenders to get credit for loans. Many payday lenders are specifically targeting armed forces personnel with loans that come with interest rates of over 3,000%. That’s a scandal and I want to see a low cost alternative to these rip off loans created for our armed forces. Our military put their lives on the line for our country and we owe them the right to access affordable loans and decent savings.
“America and Australia both have nationally-backed military credit unions that provide savings and affordable loans for military personnel. The Royal British Legion is backing the creation of a military credit union and so am I.
“Plymouth already has two active credit unions providing banking facilities for thousands of people in the city. The Police have a credit union supporting their officers and so I think it is about time the armed forces had one too. A military credit union would be owned by members of the armed forces based on co-operative values. The savings of armed forces personnel would be loaned out to their fellow personnel. It is a model whose time has come and I want to see the Government back this campaign.”
Labour Peer Lord Kennedy will raise the issue in the House of Lords this week calling for the creation of an armed forces credit union. Discussions with Government Ministers have already taken place and Labour have committed to supporting the creation of a credit union for the armed forces if the party wins next year’s General Election.
- “As part of our ongoing efforts to better support our service personnel, the MOD is currently considering the benefits of an armed forces credit union. However, no decision has yet been taken."
- Andrew Murrison, Parliamentary Under-secretary of State for Defence, reply to a written question by Gareth Thomas MP
- Forces Loans - claiming to be the number 1 provider of loans to the armed forces currently charges interest of over 3,000% for pay day loans to the military https://www.forcesloans.co.uk/military/guaranteed-miliatary-loans.php
- Luke Pollard comes from a military family. His family served as a submariner in the Royal Navy based at Devonport.