The credit union industry’s trade body has rolled out an ambitious new plan in an effort to grow UK membership by a million over the next five years.
The Credit Union Expansion Project, which 31 organisations have already backed, has been unveiled by the Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL).
Its development has been aided by a £35.6m investment from the government. ABCUL says this could save consumers almost £1 billion in loan interest repayments.
A “board range of income groups” are being targeted by the project, which will see greater centralisation and allow individual organisations to focus on serving their members.
It’s hoped that the scheme will go some way to increasing the UK’s involvement in credit unions – member-only societies that provide financial planning, credit at competitive rates and other financial services.
In March 2012, credit union membership in England, Scotland and Wales passed one million for the first time. But in Ireland, 70% of the population belongs to a credit union, while in the US and Canada, the figure is around 43%.
Credit unions are also growing fast in eastern Europe, parts of South America, Africa and south-east Asia.
Mark Lyonette, chief executive of ABCUL, said, “Consumers will soon be able to benefit from the latest online technology to sign up to credit union services such as current accounts, budgeting accounts and cash ISAs.
“A centralised hub will automate the delivery of products so that members can also access credit union services through secure connections to other networks. It is hoped that this will include the Post Office network.”
He added, “Credit unions will retain their local status and community focus, but work together where they can benefit from pooling knowledge and resources. This will give members the best of both worlds.”
In having members as opposed to customers, credit unions work on the basis that people’s wellbeing is put first. Members are given a share of their credit union’s profit at the end of the year in the form of a dividend, and also have the authority to elect the board of directors in a democratic one vote per person system.
Speaking about the new scheme, Vincent Thomas, chair of London Plus Credit Union, said, “As well as being better able to compete with less ethical lenders, it will allow us to offer services to the whole community – not just those on lower incomes.”
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”