Where did our money go? The black hole of bank bail-outs

Where did our money go? The great banking black hole

Last week nef’s banking campaign delivered a stark warning about the state of the UK’s financial system. Using Bank of England data, nefcalculated that the major lending banks could be demanding another bail-out in 2011. Their borrowing requirement is set to double next year to £25 billion a month. nef believes that the banks may need to turn to the Government for support again.

George Osborne denied that banks would need further support, but nef’s head of finance and business, Tony Greenham said, “The Chancellor has no room for complacency when it comes to the health of British banking, which remains dangerously dependent on state backing and support schemes.”

Banks appear no more accountable than they were before the credit crunch. We need urgent action on regulation to prevent such crises happening again.

>> Read Where did our money go?
>> Independent: Banks may need new bail-out, warns think-tank
>> Sky News: UK on cusp of new banking failure
>> Financial Times: Lex column on UK bank reform
>> Andrew Simms: Is Osborne cutting for a rainy day of bail-outs?
Special nef event at the Southbank Centre, London, 7pm, 27 October 2010

Not only is our banking system not even fulfilling its most basic purpose of bringing credit to firms and households, it’s not currently in any shape to help us make the Great Transition to a low carbon economy that is necessary, desirable and possible. nef is hosting an evening of righteous rage and cultural transformation at the Purcell Room in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at London’s Southbank Centre with a range of leading thinkers and doers including Caroline Lucas, Stewart Wallis, Andrew Simms, Franny Armstrong, Professor Jayati Ghosh, Rosie Boycott andProfessor Tim Jackson.

Tickets are £10 or £7 for concessions and are going fast. Avoid disappointment by booking today and call 0844 875 0073 or visit the Southbank Centre website.

>> Read The Great Transition
>> Watch Tim Jackson’s TED talk: An economic reality check

nef at party conferences

nef continued to press the issue of banking reform at all three major party conferences, hosting events at the Climate Clinic to challenge politicians to consider whether finance can really deliver the green infrastructure we need.

We held packed out events even at the most inhospitable hours. The Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, spoke alongside nef’s Andrew Simms and Tony Greenham to a full room at 7.30 on a Sunday morning. Dr Cable agreed with much of our analysis of why a laissez-faire approach to banking tends to end in failure, and praised nef’s work for drawing links between economic, environmental and social issues.

Dr Victoria Johnson, acting head of the climate change and energy programme at nef, also heard from many renewable energy pioneers who concerned that the UK has a growing green skills gap. A Green Investment Bank is needed to drive forward innovation and training in vital sectors for the emerging low carbon economy.

>> David Boyle: Vince Cable and the Green New Deal
>> Tony Greenham: Osborne’s conference speech was 20th century, not 21st

RSA hosts lunchtime event on the Big Society, 4 November 2010

The Coalition government wants to build a Big Society; but how do we ensure the idea is not just big, but also sustainable and fair? In the face of deep public spending cuts, the Prime Minister has consistently repeated the message that “we’re all in this together”.

But can the Big Society project deliver just and equitable distribution of resources and well-being across all social groups? Join Anna Coote, head of social policy at nef and author of Ten Big Questions about the Big Society and a panel of discussants at the Royal Society of Arts in London todebate the Big Society, social justice and the new austerity. nef will be launching a new publication about the Big Society, which will be available to buy.

Tickets are free, and can be booked here.

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