Credit Unions are a great thing, serving an important niche in the financial market, which is vital at a time of economic uncertainty for the most vulnerable among us. For anyone who doesn't want or can't get a bank account, wants additional flexibility over their savings and wants a more locally accountable and ethical way of investing their money they are literally a saving grace of the current system.
Essentially they function in much the same way as small-scale building societies did before they were demutualised, but membership is more restrictive in that they require you to live locally or have some other common bond such as belonging to a housing association or trade union.
So stalwart local Labourites have seen this a prime territory to push them as a policy which can be of real help to people in need. Unfortunately national Labourites have a habit of neglecting their basis in human reality and see them as a partisan tool at odds with their actual political ends.
My local Labour MP makes a big song and dance about getting the local Credit Union wider recognition which has been operating since mid-2007, but it has been the local LibDems which pushed hardest for the funding to set up a shop from which they can do business.
So what do we hear now?
Well of course we hear that Labour is proposing to charge interest on short-term emergency loans.
The department for Work and Pensions is consulting on charging up to 27% apr on sums provided from a £500m social fund - an interest rate some loan sharks would blanche at!
Considering the Bank of England has been reducing interest rates under pressure from the Prime Minister to record lows to try to keep the economy ticking over as it throws billions around in an attempt to bail out the feckless rich, it seems they want to punish the victims of the state-sanctioned banking fraud a second time.
So what we see is Labour saying one thing to our faces and doing another as soon as our backs are turned, just because it suits them and they can.
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