FINANCE NEWS: Minister demands improved access to bank accounts

A Scottish minister has branded the fact that 13 per cent of households in Scotland do not have access to a bank or building society account as "unacceptable".

Minister for social justice Margaret Curran said that financial exclusion needed to be tackled through community banks, credit unions and money advice services in deprived areas.

"It is clear that the best solutions are developed through a bottom-up approach from communities themselves,

she told a British-Irish Council conference on financial inclusion.

She said of those households without access to financial products that "they have no money invested and they are unlikely to have a private pension, mortgage or insurance. This is simply unacceptable".

The aim of the Glasgow conference, organised by the Scottish Executive in partnership with the Welsh Assembly, was to bring together community activists and practitioners in order to exchange ideas and influence government policy on financial inclusion.

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