Should there be more public benefit from the bank's bailout?
The latest Urban Forum poll asked if there should be a more public benefit from the banks' bailout. The overwhelming majority, 97%, said ‘yes'. With approximately 140 billion pounds poured into the banking system (and more on it's way possibly) a significant proportion of it is now publically owned. Because of that you would think that the banks would start to act like if they were part of society. In the Responsible Finance Campaign we are asking for 1% of banks profit to be reinvested in the community and to have bank accounts available for individuals that have previously been excluded from financial services. These calls on the banks are minute compared to the colossal amount of money that they have received from the public purse.
Just to put the bailout into perspective - for £140 billion you could get the nation another one and a half NHS, more than two education systems and have almost four times more local government spending. Some of this money might return to governments coffers, but there is no doubt that there will be a massive constraint on government finances for the next years - resulting in tighter spending on public services which will evidently affect the most marginalised in society. These banks were too big to fail, and no one is suggesting that they should have been left to go under, but after such a massive rescue operation from the public one would expect them to start to act like if people mattered.
Come to Urban Forum's annual conference 3rd December at Central Hall Westminster to participate in discussions around community finance DETAILS , or Support the Responsible Finance Campaign by clicking here