Smith Welcomes Passage of Microcredit Plans

15 May 2008
Euro MP Alyn Smith has welcomed the successful passage of the European Parliament's written declaration on microcredit. The written declaration called for the extention of the microcredit scheme to the Mediterranean region and developing countries.

Microcredit is a scheme whereby very small loans are extended to the unemployed, those living in poverty or those who have a poor credit history. They also tend to favour women as: firstly, loans to women are more likely to benefit the whole family; secondly, women tend to be a good credit risk; thirdly, the socio-economic status of women is improved through their ability to bring in an income. The scheme was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

Mr Smith, who signed the declaration in February, said:

"I am delighted that the written declaration has received sufficient support for it to become official policy of the European Parliament. It has been a real pleasure to work with so many distinguished MEPs from across the continent on this.

"Microcredit is a fantastic initiative that is recognised across the world for its positive results. Many, many people within the EU would reap the benefits of an extension of the scheme, women in particular. For a programme that costs relatively little to start up and maintain, the impacts are both long-lasting, hugely constructive and, for many, life-changing.

"While we within the EU are relatively blessed in terms of living standards, we must not forget that there are pockets of real deprivation, often much closer to us than might be expected. If microcredit financing can help to alleviate this poverty, then I am pleased to support it."