Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has pledged to put £20 in a credit union account for every first year secondary school student in Scotland.
The new policy, costing an estimated £1.2 million a year based on the 2017 S1 intake, would come into effect if the party is elected to government and is aimed at cutting reliance on high cost credit such as pay-day lenders.
It is part of a package of reforms Mr Leonard would enact to tackle personal debt across Scotland, which includes nationalising public transport to ensure fairer ticket prices, using an industrial strategy to ensure better paid jobs and increasing child benefit by £260 a year.
Outlining the policy on a visit to a credit union in Liverpool, where Labour is holding its UK conference, Mr Leonard said: “Scotland’s broken economy doesn’t work for working people, with too many families having to turn to high cost credit to pay essential bills. That cannot go on.
“Under Labour, the days of predatory companies profiting from the squeezed wages of working people will end. Labour will take real action on the cost of living to ensure more money in the pockets of working people.
“But I also want to see generational change in attitudes towards how people access credit if they need it. That’s why a Scottish Labour government would expand support for credit unions and establish a credit union account for every first year pupil in Scotland – we’ll put £20 in it too.
“Credit unions can play a vital role in personal financial education and on the importance of an ethical economy.”
“This will increase awareness of credit unions among working class families and ensure that generations of young people to come have access to low cost credit.”