EVERY first year secondary pupil in Glasgow will be given a savings account with a community credit union as part of a bid to halt the rise of high-cost payday lenders.

The Future Savers scheme, launched by Glasgow City Council, is the first of its kind in the UK.

Called "Glasgow's Starter for Ten", the initiative will see the council open thousands of new credit union savings accounts for S1 pupils, with an initial deposit of £10 in each one.

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Over time, this will ensure that every young person in the city has access to a dependable, responsible option for savings and money advice.

It will also mean that, as adults, they will always have a better alternative to payday loans if they decide they need to borrow.

The project was launched by City Treasurer Paul Rooney at Lochend Community High School in Easterhouse, where he met the first young Glaswegians to open Future Savers accounts.

"What we want to do with this project is give every young Glaswegian a safe and secure relationship with a credit union that is responsible to its members and to its community," he said.

"And if, years from now, they decide they need to borrow; they will also have access to a lender that knows them well - rather than simply see them as an opportunity to turn a profit."

Every secondary school has been matched with a credit union and more than 4000 S1 pupils will be eligible to receive Glasgow's Starter for Ten this year.

Research carried out by the council during 2013 suggests around 100,000 residents are regularly using non-standard forms of credit - fuelling a market worth more than £57 million a year.

A cross-party sounding board created to investigate the extent and impact of payday loans in the city proposed a range of actions for all levels of government - including the scheme to prevent young Glaswegians getting caught in a debt trap.

Other steps include the council committing not to lease any of its commercial property to payday lenders and working with the £13 billion Strathclyde Pension Fund to ensure no direct investments are made in the trade.

xref leader