Can I ask the cabinet secretary also to consider further—and perhaps discuss with the United Kingdom Government and regulatory authorities—how credit unions can be supported to expand their operations, perhaps in relation to enabling home ownership for savers and housing provision in their area of operation?
Credit unions such as East Kilbride Credit Union have ambitions to further help their communities, but their ability to do so is constrained by the rules framework under which they work. I understand that in Ireland, for example, derogations allow credit unions to be more involved in their local communities.
I thank Linda Fabiani for her question and recognise her clear interest in the issue. I enjoyed the event that she hosted in Parliament, which shone a light on the good work that credit unions do across the country. I am aware of the fantastic work of East Kilbride Credit Union. Most recently, I was interested to learn about its home start deposit scheme, which aims to help first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.
We are aware that there is ambition, but that it cannot be met because of the regulatory circumstances in which we find ourselves. That shows that many of the powers that are needed to support such innovation are reserved. We will, of course, continue to push the UK Government, because it is unfortunate that we have ambition from our credit unions that cannot be met because of the regulations, which we have no power to change. We will continue to push the UK Government to make the necessary changes.