Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly and Chairman of the Stormont Committee for Employment and Learning, has pledged his support for proposed new legislation which he said “will greatly enhance the standing of Credit Unions across the Province”.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also UUP Chief Whip and North Antrim UUP Chairman, has been a long-time supporter of the Credit Union movement.
Mr Swann said: “I am very strongly supportive of proposed legislation to enhance local Credit Unions.
“Co-operatives and mutuals have deep roots in the communities of Northern Ireland, notably in the form of credit unions and farmers’ co-operatives.
“Today the co-operative economy in Northern Ireland is worth £1.2 billion, comprising 220 individual businesses of all shapes and sizes.
“Away from traditional strong points in agriculture and finance, we are seeing people pool resources to meet their needs and aspirations in fields as diverse as renewable energy, worker owned services, and micro-brewing.
“The world over co-operatives are particularly effective in animating private economic activity where it’s lacking, allowing communities to create and keep more wealth. Co-operatives have a significant role to play in building a stronger and fairer economy in Northern Ireland.
“One crucial ingredient for a growing co-operative economy is an enabling legal and regulatory framework, and right now we as members of the Northern Ireland Assembly have the opportunity to make a real and lasting impact in this area of policy.
“In this respect, I am a strong supporter of the Credit Unions and Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Bill.
“Included in this Bill are long-sought and much-needed reforms to key aspects of co-operative law – reforms which have already introduced in Great Britain.
“Together they help put co-operatives, credit unions and community benefit societies on an equal footing with other businesses.
“I have been a long-time supporter of the Credit Union movement in Northern Ireland and I urge my fellow MLAs from all parties and positions to vote in favour of this important Bill,” said Assemblyman Swann.