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Liberal Democrats propose Surrey Credit Union

April 10, 2010 7:00 AM
Cty Cllr Will Forster

County Cllr Will Forster asked the County Council to investigate supporting a Surrey Credit Union

With the recession people are hurting. 1 in 4 of Surrey's residents are living in financial stress and 30,000 are financially excluded - as they don't have bank accounts, savings or insurance. Without them people turn to loan sharks, some even for basic things like when their washing machine breaks down.

There is no magic wand to this stark financial hardship, however there is a proposal backed by a cross party consensus in Guildford, Mole Valley, Waverley and Woking District and Borough Councils for a Credit Union for Surrey. This Surrey Save Credit Union could break the chain that leads financially excluded people from turning to loan sharks by providing a safe, fair and affordable alternative.

Surrey is the only county in the country not to have a Credit Union. Across the country local government regardless of political control has been supporting their local Credit Unions. Nationally both the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives see Credit Unions as a way to kick start the economy from recession.

When Lib Dem County Cllr Will Forster (Woking South) asked the County Council to investigate the mere possibility of supporting our Credit Union, he was shocked, yet not surprised, by the outcome. The Conservative administration's decision not to support Surrey's proposed Credit Union is appalling.

The Surrey Conservatives do not appear to be interested in helping anyone not like them, the disadvantaged who are either disliked or misunderstood by them. The Tories are a deeply divided party - they say one thing in opposition and another when in power. One thing at county, another at district and something totally different nationally.