Civil Society coalition calls on the next government to transform the financial system
Today we launch a set of manifesto asks, backed by a coalition of 11 civil society groups, that urges the next government to create a financial system that better serves society, the environment and the wider economy.
In the seven years since the crash of 2008 politicians have done little to address its underlying root causes and society continues to live with the after effects. Today politicians have the opportunity to commit to a new set of priorities, and create a financial system that is more democratic, responsible and fair.
As the general election campaign begins in earnest, with the economy and continued austerity remaining key topics of discussion, now is the time to rethink our financial system. This is the drive from our coalition, which includes, Share Action, The Finance Innovation Lab, New Economics Foundation, Positive Money, Move Your Money and Friends of the Earth. The statement challenges politicians to take action to transform finance, by setting out five fundamental recommendations for change:
- More diversity in banking, using the Competition and Markets Authority investigation in retail banking to accelerate growth in mutuals, peer-to-peer lending, community and stakeholder banks.
- More responsibility in financial markets, encouraged by joining the EU Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) designed to curb unnecessary speculation.
- More transparency in savings and investment, backed by a new Responsible Investment Bill.
- More sustainability through the expansion of the Green Investment Bank into a broader state investor akin to those in other developed countries such as Germany, France and Japan.
- More democracy by asking the Bank of England to carry out a review of all monetary policy options available to government and central banks to influence the allocation of credit in the interests of the whole of society and the economy, and a debate over these options in parliament.
Each of these recommendations is backed by a specific campaign with its own body of support; and collectively they form the pillars of a new, sustainable approach to finance. The details of these campaigns are set out in our recent article in The Guardian newspaper. As civil society continues to lead the way in addressing the on-going concerns of the public about how we ensure a more stable future, we call on all political parties to take up the mantle of change.
Chris Hewett, convenor of the Transforming Finance Network of civil society groups, makes it clear that:
“The call for change isn’t just about avoiding another crash. We need a financial system that doesn’t just serve itself but serves the real needs of society, the environment and the economy. It’s about delivering a sustainable future for everyone.”
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