A chance to make a real difference – but only if we act now!

A chance to make a real difference – but only if we act now!
Toby Blume, Urban Forum

The government has so far spent over £140bn of public money bailing out the banking system which, means there will be less funding for essential public services like health and education for years to come. The very poorest in society will be punished for the excessive risk taking of the very rich.

And yet little has been done to change how banks operate and we already seem to be returning to ‘business as usual’ in the City. Our politicians talk of ‘radical reform’ but have so far offered little evidence of anything more than tinkering at the margins.

I am angry and I want to see things change for the better. I want to see responsible banking and real reform to avoid the same mistakes happening again in the future.

For the last few months, Urban Forum has been leading calls for banking reform. We have refined our ideas into four specific proposals:

1.      Support for communities – banks should be required to re-invest at least 1% of profits to support public benefit.
2.      Responsible credit – it should be illegal for lenders to charge as much as they like for loans.
3.      Disclosure – banks must publish information to demonstrate they are serving the needs of all communities, without discrimination.
4.      Investment – banks must take steps to eliminate any discrimination in how they provide financial services through a Community Reinvestment Act.

We have the chance to tell our politicians that we do care and we want them to do something about it.

The Treasury has published its plans for banking reform in a White Paper and is inviting responses to it until the end of September. We must take the opportunity to tell them what we think of their proposals and what we think is needed. The more people that respond, the clearer the message will be – change is needed!

You can reply as an individual or on behalf of a group or organisation…but please PLEASE make your views known. Send your response to: banking.reform@hm-treasury.gov.uk by the 30th September.

Please help us by encouraging others to support the campaign – send this email on to three friends, colleagues, or family members.

There is more information about our proposals and actions you can take on our website. Do take a look – http://tiny.cc/bankreform.

I know you are probably really busy, perhaps you wouldn’t usually respond to a White Paper, but don’t let that stop you. We have a chance to make a real difference, but only if we do something about it.