Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Access to financial services – Merseyside has its say [January 1999]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 12 January 1999.

People and organisations on Merseyside had the opportunity to tell Patricia Hewitt, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, about the problems of lack of access to financial services and possible remedies to the problem.

The discussion, hosted by Speke Community Credit Union, is part of a series around the country organised by the Treasury. They have been organised to help inform the work of the Treasury’s two policy action teams which are looking at the problems of financial exclusion – one on lack of access to personal financial services e.g. bank accounts and the other on finance and support for small firms.

The aim of the discussions is to draw on the experience of local people on Merseyside, encourage discussion of financial services problems of people in deprived neighbourhoods and explore possible solutions.

Speaking at the forum in Liverpool the Minister said:

“This Government’s aim is to create a modern and decent society where there are no forgotten people. That is why tackling social exclusion is a top priority.

“Financial exclusion is both a symptom and cause of that social exclusion. People in our most deprived neighbourhoods get locked into a cash economy and, too often, financial services mean cheque cashing shops, the pawnshop and illegal loan sharks. This Government is not prepared to accept a society where economic opportunity is restricted in this fashion.

“And we also want to encourage enterprise in deprived neighbourhoods – this means better access to capital for small firms, including those starting up. Just because a  neighbourhood may be poor in its physical and economic standing does not mean that it cannot be rich in people with ideas and initiative to start up and run their own business.

“The seminar today is an opportunity for the people on Merseyside to tell the Government about the problems on the ground and how we can increase access to financial services.”

The main issues for discussion will be:

  • small firm finance;
  • small firm support and mentoring;
  • financial education;
  • access to bank accounts and other personal financial
    services; and
  • credit union development.