Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

NOW, Children. Here's Another New [...]

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

NOW, Children. Here's Another New [...]

Article excerpt

Byline: COLUMNIST AGENDA BERNARD TRAFFORD

NOW, children. Here's another new lesson for you. Your mummies and daddies are useless at teaching you about healthy eating, obesity, smoking, drugs, alcohol, sex, and extremism. The government's no help either: so it says your teachers must tell you all about those things so you don't grow up into fat, drugged-up, drunken, murderous sex-maniacs with heart disease.

"Neither those nice people in Parliament nor your mummies and daddies have a clue about managing money either, so the Archbishop of Canterbury has asked his schools to teach you about that too. Won't that be lovely?" Excuse the Joyce Grenfell bit.

Justin Welby vowed on his appointment as Archbishop to put payday lenders out of business by competing with them, forming credit unions in Anglican churches. People are encouraged to save and borrow in small, structured, protected ways with no rip-offs: it's proper, moral social enterprise, balancing good sense with Christian care for one's fellow human beings.

This scheme is designed to help the poor, the struggling, those who so easily and too frequently fall prey to the payday lenders (who have finally had their wings clipped by government) or, worse, the unlicensed loan sharks into whose hands they too easily tumble.

The move gives rise to enjoyable headlines. "Jesus saves and so will children", proclaimed The Times. It reminded me of the old 1980s joke strapline: Jesus saves - and Keegan puts it in on the rebound.

Welby's idea has now been extended to children: credit unions are operating in a few primary schools. The intention is to set up a pilot of 100 primary schools. If that proves successful, the scheme could be rolled out across England, not least because a quarter of all primaries are church schools.

It's about education. The primary school credit union is just one way of teaching kids that, if they take care of the pennies, the pounds will come of themselves. Many a mickle maks a muckle, as they say a little north of here.

Like motherhood and applepie, this junior saving scheme's hard to argue against. …

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