From Times Online: July 11 2009
Vince Cable is absolutely right to remind us that we, as taxpayers, are the masters of the banks we have bailed out from the brink of insolvency (We’re the masters of the banking universe, July 8). And we agree that the new financial architecture cannot just be a modified form of the old high-risk structures that led to the near-collapse of the entire sector.
But the critical debate needed is not just how the government runs publicly-owned banks, but to what end.
The most glaring example of why this debate is needed is the case of RBS, now 70 per cent owned by the taxpayer. Last week, campaigners launched a legal case against the Treasury for refusing to consider the climate change and human rights impacts of RBS’s financing of coal, oil and gas companies and projects around the world.
This case points to a wider lack of consideration by HMT about how our money is being used to back investments that run against the public interest – including the government’s own policy and expenditure targets. Until the Treasury gets its own investment house in order by ensuring that bailed-out banks stop investing in socially and environmentally damaging projects, it is hard to foresee any progress towards a more stable and sustainable financial system.
Andrew Simms, policy director nef (the new economics foundation)
Ann Pettifor, Campaigns Director, Operation Noah
Caroline Lucas, MEP
Colin Hines, Convener, Green New Deal Group
Duncan McLaren, Chief Executive, Friends of the Earth Scotland
Fr Frank Nally SSC, Missionary Society of St Columban
Helena Paul, EcoNexus
Jeni Mackay, Director, Scottish Education and Action for Development
Johan Frijns, BankTrack
Miles Litvinoff, Co-ordinator, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility
Pete Myers, Enough’s Enough and onehundredmonths.org
Richard Murphy, Tax Research LLP
Stephen Spratt, Chief Economist nef (the new economics foundation)
Tom Griffiths, Responsible Finance Coordinator, Forest Peoples Programme
Tony Juniper, Campaigner and Writer
Submitted on behalf of the group by:
nef (the new economics foundation)
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