Tuesday, 1 July 2008

There is power in a union

I didn't get time to post Monday's good news (although the turtles being set free was quite heart-warming, wasn't it?) Anyway, I launched a new APPG on Credit Unions and the Minister, Kitty Ussher, used the occasion to announce fundamental changes in credit union law. This was what we were being set up to lobby for, so it left us in a bit of a quandary as to whether or not to disband immediately, mission accomplished. But we have decided to trudge on, ploughing our not very difficult furrow, which will mostly involve talking to the Treasury about the detail of the proposed new laws.

To get a bit anoraky on you for a moment... The idea of a 'common bond' is to be revised, which will basically mean that if, for example, First Bus decided it wanted an employees' credit union, it wouldn't need to have separate ones in each geographical location where the company operates; it could have a company wide one. (And some big companies are very interested in that, which could hugely boost the credit union's coffers). The bit I'm really excited about though is the fact that groups, as well as individuals, will soon be allowed to open credit union accounts. This opens the door for Bristol's huge number of voluntary sector organisations to start supporting the credit union - and for the credit union to support them when they hit cash flow problems towards the end of the financial year and are waiting for new funding to come on stream.

Speaking of the voluntary sector, today - Tuesday - the Government announced another £500m for New Deal for Communities , which includes Bristol. It's been a year since the smoking ban was introduced on 1st July 2007 and the results are pretty good (98% compliance and 76% public support, but I've already blogged about that). And the sun was shining at Wimbledon. But it's going to rain tomorrow.

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