Greens adopt policy for radical shake-up of banks at conference

11 September 2010

The Green Party has adopted policies to restructure Britain's banking system "to restore financial stability and regain control" over the economy.

The party agreed, at its party conference in Birmingham, to press for immediate legislation to separate retail and investment banking and it would restore strict divisions between banking, brokerage, commodities, futures and derivatives trading.

The party will lobby for strict limits on the size of banks, with a British bank not to have access to more than 10% of the UK domestic market or 5% of the global market. Banks that do not follow the rules would be liable to lose their licences.

The Green Party also favours strict limits on mortgages and credit cards and the derivatives market would be "strictly controlled, with specific approval for each derivative product."

The party also adopted a motion to create a People's Bank out of one, or more, of the currently "nationalised" banks, for example, the Royal Bank of Scotland, which was bailed out by the British taxpayer in 2008.

The People's Bank would be "a guaranteed safe haven to deposit money in for any and all citizens" that would act as a non-profit institution. The bank's "raison d'etre would above all be to act prudently in the interest of all its depositors, to ensure that there was no risk of a bank-run ever endangering their money".

The bank would be limited to low-risk activities and would be owned and guaranteed by the state.

"I'm delighted the Green Party has overwhelmingly come on board with a radical proposal that makes clear that banking is a public service," said Cllr Rupert Read of the Norwich Green Party, who proposed the motion.

"If this proposal were adopted by government, it would be a genuinely sustainable way of determining what to do with institutions like RBS, rather than short-sightedly flogging them off at the earliest opportunity," said Read, who is part of the largest group of Green councillors in the UK.



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