In December, a group met
to discuss Where did our money go? about the banking crisis. We
discussed the situation as we understood it from NEF’s book of that
name, and rapidly decided that what we wanted was to find out what more
ethical and local options exist or could be created
, mainly to avoid
investing savings in what we don’t trust or like, and enable them to do
some good instead. We invited Tony Greenham from NEF to speak about
‘What to expect over the next 10 years in the finance sector, what to do
with our money and especially how we can localise it’. Take a look at Tony’s presentation…

One
striking statistic showed that 0.05% of the UK population belongs to
credit unions by comparison with 35% in the USA and nearly 50% in
Ireland. The UK’s vulnerability to bank failure would be greatly
mitigated by the expansion and take-up of credit unions, which do not
speculate on loans or encourage debt in order to make profits.

Tony’s
final slide showed a flow diagram for local finance. Money is
frequently wasted in unnecessary outsourcing
; for example it would be
cheaper and more effective for social landlords to fund debt advice for
tenants instead of pursuing legal action for non-payment of rent.

We
decided to meet again soon to decide what course of action the group
wishes to take – whether to form a new financial vehicle, approach the
local Councils with proposals for local authority action, simply join
the existing East Sussex Credit Union, or some/all of these. Ann Link
and Daniela Coles will organise the next one, which will probably
involve the credit union in some way. Date to be arranged: contact one
of us if you’d like to be involved.