Our volunteers captured some parts of the break-out parallel discussions.
Challenging the power of the bank lobby
In 2010, city money made up over 50% of all Conservative Party donations. Current transparency measures do not enable public scrutiny of lobbying. Finance Watch estimates that the amount spent on financial lobbying in Brussels is over €300m. What can we do to tackle the power of the banking lobby?
Dr William Dinan
Director and Co-Founder of Spin Watch
Head of Communications, Finance Watch
Scottish Director of the Electoral Reform Society and Vice Chair of Compass
Campaigns and Activism Coordinator at Oxfam Scotland
Discussion chair:Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser at Unison
Relocalising and diversifying our high street banks
A sustainable, inclusive and vibrant local economy needs a financial service sector that is responsive to local needs ��� that can support small businesses and social enterprises, and that can provide basic banking facilities to all, regardless of income, literacy and ethnic background. But have our banks become too consolidated to play that role?
Britain has five banks that account for 90% of personal banking. Compare this to Germany, which has hundreds of local savings banks and credit unions accounting for 70% of banking. The UK has just 170 bank branches per million inhabitants, compared to 480 in Germany, and 1010 in Spain.
Is there a case for forcibly breaking up the banks? For creating a new network of Post Banks? For a ‘universal service obligation’ which would mandate the affordable provision of basic accounts to all individuals?
Fellow at Jubilee Debt Campaign
Chief Executive, Scotwest Credit Union
Co-founder, Move Your Money
Tony Greenham, Head of Finance and Business at nef
Finance as a force for good
How can governments intervene in the banking sector to channel finance away from environmentally destructive industries and destabilizing speculative activity, and towards projects with real environmental and social value?
How can we stop speculators pushing up food prices? How can we change the system of incentives that encourage destabilizing and risky behaviour?
Is banking sector intervention enough? What about the pensions funds & the insurance companies that act as if the long-term doesn’t matter? Is it realistic to expect similar government intervention in these high-impact sectors or are there other alternative/complementary answers to dysfunctional markets?
Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University College London
President at Network for Sustainable Financial Markets
Prof Richard Werner
Director of the Centre for Banking, Finance and Sustainable Development, University of Southampton
Hilary Wainwright, Co-editor of Red Pepper
Fresh thinking on finance, money and debt
This is the session for really thinking outside of the box, and discussing alternative models for money-creation and investment, that would fundamentally transform the role of banks in the economy.
Through its privileged role in creating and allocating 97% of the money in circulation, the banking sector wields enormous power over both the health and direction of our economy. Should banks retain the power to create and allocate debt-money? Or should we move the power to create money into the hands of a transparent and accountable body? What might be the role for complementary currencies?
Are interest-bearing bank loans a necessary or desirable model for financing projects with social and environmental value? What about shared equity-based investment models, and peer-to-peer finance?
Founder of Positive Money
Prof Molly Scott Cato
Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at Roehampton University
Islamic Finance Council UK
Senior Research Fellow, University College London
Michael Northcott, Professor of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh