I thank the member for her very interesting question.
At the moment, 35 individuals have chosen to make a payment into their credit union account through the payrolls managed by the corporate body. Of those 35, 19 are SPCB staff, 10 are MSP staff and six are MSPs, and that is from a total of 1,399 people who are served by our payroll service.
The role of credit unions in reducing poverty and the impact of financial worries is well recognised. Everyone will know that the membership is based on a common bond, and it seems a wasted opportunity not to offer staff and members the benefit of direct wage deduction to one of their local credit unions. For example, I would love to be able to offer my staff or, indeed, anyone from Ayrshire the opportunity to make deductions to 1st Alliance Ayrshire Credit Union. Will Sandra White meet me to see how we can make that happen for everyone?
I agree entirely with the member that access to credit unions is very important. She will be aware that the SPCB advertises the fact that we facilitate payments to a credit union, but the idea that she has proposed is an excellent one. Obviously, I cannot give an answer on my own behalf, but if the member is content, I will take the matter to the next SPCB meeting for discussion. I am also more than happy to discuss the matter with her.