Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Today

Mad day ahead of me today. Arrived at work at same time as Feargal Sharkey, who presumably is here to do his BPI lobbying stuff. Just about to go off to the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill committee, then leaving that at 12 to meet some students from a Polish school in Bristol, then PPS-ing in a Westminster Hall debate on Sri Lanka, then staying to - I hope - do one or two interventions in another WH debate on cosmetic testing on animals. Then the All-Party Credit Unions group is meeting at 3pm, which I'm chairing, and then it's the Banking Bill Second Reading all the way through till ten... And I'm going to be late for committee if I don't disappear now!

13 comments:

Glenn Vowles said...

Any thoughts on the merits of setting up a whole new system of banking? No better time than now?

Kerry said...

So I take it you can't bring yourself to congratulate the Government on today's announcements on climate change, feed-in tariffs and fuel poverty?

Kerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

The new rules for credit unions does just that Glenn. Credit unions have been strongly supported by the government through the growth fund and are being expanded to have corporate accounts. They are banks owned by their customers and only lend money that they have.

Glenn Vowles said...

'So I take it you can't bring yourself to congratulate the Government on today's announcements on climate change, feed-in tariffs and fuel poverty?'

Calm down Kerry! If I did that via this posting, which is about banking..., I'd be in breach of your blog rules wouldn't I? I've know I've taken liberties with some of my commenting but I do try to stick to your guidelines. Have I missed you saying something on these issues eleswhere on your blog?? (I'll take a look)

Paul - what you say about credit unions is great bu I doubt that
they amount to the system of community banking I had in mind. Current Green Party policy on this is:

EC665 In order to help bring about the democratisation of the banking system, and in pursuit of our policies to support the growth of local economies, a network of local Community Banks will be established. These will be democratically accountable non-profit-making trusts, which will be able to provide low-cost finance both at district and regional levels. Any operating surplus arising from these Community Banks will be reinvested in their local communities. Community Banks will be empowered to create credit in the same way that commercial banks currently do, and will be given favourable conditions for doing so by the central bank. They will also be able to create their own local currencies, to operate alongside the national currency, where this is supported by the local community.

EC666 In order to bring about a more socially equitable society, it is important that poorer citizens have access to affordable credit, which can give them an opportunity to increase their basic living standards. Alongside Community Banks, measures to help facilitate this will include the promotion and support of credit unions and micro-credit schemes in which small groups of people cooperate to provide guaranteed small loans to each other.

Paul said...

Glenn I think you need to find out more about credit unions as community owned and controlled banks is exactly what they are. Increasingly they can offer current accounts and a wide range of saving and lending options. They are run on a co-operative basis - i.e. one member one vote. You should join the bristol one

Kerry said...

Glenn, yes you did miss it, I said look out for the statement.

Have simply been too busy to blog this week. It is now 9.10pm and I am in the constituency office with a pile of post to sign. Doing BBC Radio Bristol at 7.30am tomorrow morning. So forgive me if when I finally get home - I'm aiming for 10.30pm, I decide not to blog tonight either!

And if you are persuaded by Paul to find out more about credit unions, you might want to check out what the founder and Chair of the All-Party Group has to say about it on her blog. (That would be me). You might also want to check out what I said about support for CDFIs (Community Development Finance Institutions), CITR (Community Investment Tax Relief) and the (US) Community Reinvestment Act when I spoke about it in the House in 2005 or 2006.

Glenn Vowles said...

Kerry, I didn't miss the DECC announcement itself but there hasn't been anything on this blog about it other than saying an announcement would be made. I suppose I could have updated your blog for you - that's what you seem to be asking of me by sniping the way you did!

Paul, yes Credit Unions are great and I will find out more about them. Do they have all the features of the Community Banks in Green policy though - look at the list in the detailed posting I sent.

Kerry said...

P.S. What is really sad is that I'm aiming for 10.30 so I can catch Newsnight...

Paul said...

Glenn

I don't think they were set up iun response to a detailed green party position statement. They seem to have the features though with the exception of issuing their own currencies. This seems a bonkers idea to me we have too many currencies already which allow corporate capitalism to skim money off the top every time someone tries to change from one to another.

Glenn Vowles said...

That's a political rather than rational and informative answer Paul - why be so defensive?? I suppose its consistent with the tone both you and Kerry have taken in response to my comments here of late. I'm genuinely interested in and supportive of any new thinking on banks/banking and the cedit union work referred to by both you and Kerry has a great deal of merit.I will certainly look at the benefits of joining a credit union locally as some of my Green friends have.

I was wondering whether govt should save all those local post offices from closure and set up new credit unions/community banks all over the country and give people a better alternative than the commercial banks (I think Doug Naysmith MP said something along these lines recently (??)).

Glenn Vowles said...

I'm really surprised that you are so vehemently against local currencies Paul. You said, 'They [credit unions] seem to have the features though with the exception of issuing their own currencies. This seems a bonkers idea to me we have too many currencies already which allow corporate capitalism to skim money off the top every time someone tries to change from one to another.'

The logic of your position that 'we have too many currencies already' is that we ditch the pound for the euro and further lose national control of our economy. Is this what you want?

Who is now arguing that current attitudes to money are benefitting local economies?? Local currencies are not 'bonkers' and in fact have a great deal of merit, as described in this Schumacher Society quote
'local currencies are a legal, but underutilized tool for citizens to support local economies. Local currencies function on a regional scale the same way that national currencies have functioned on a national scale—building the regional economy by creating a protective “membrane” that is defined by the currency itself. Local businesses that accept the currency are distinguished from chain stores that do not, building greater affinity between citizens of the region and their local merchants. Individuals choosing to use the currency make a conscious commitment to buy locally first, taking personal responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their community, laying the foundation of a truly vibrant, thriving local economy.'

thebristolblogger said...

Jane Jacobs, the highly influential urban guru, was also in favour of regional currencies. The Death and Life of Great American Cities” is still pretty essential isn't it?