Bailout: taxpayers' money should mean taxpayers' control

8 October 2008

Wednesday 8 October 2008


BAILOUT: TAXPAYERS' MONEY SHOULD MEAN TAXPAYERS' CONTROL

Caroline Lucas: "No taxation without representation"


The Green Party has criticised Alistair Darling's £50bn bailout for offering public funds to banking giants without demanding any public control in return.  The preference shares the Treasury will receive in the deal confer no voting rights, and the Green leader, Caroline Lucas MEP, argues that taxpayers should not be expected to provide a cash bailout without receiving in return the voting power to alter those banking practices that are the cause of the crisis.

Dr Lucas is a co-author of the Green New Deal, a programme to solve the 'triple crunch' of financial crisis, peak oil and climate change. Amongst other recommendations, it outlines a vision for green infrastructure projects such as mass home insulation or renewable energy, funded through local or central government bonds (or 'green gilts') which would create a secure investment for pension funds and individual savers.

Dr Lucas said:

"If we're going to be asked to bail out the banks, we want something for our money. We want to know that the banks are going to be run responsibly from now on, and that means, as part owners of these banks, we want our fair share of the votes on the board. It's a basic principle: no taxation without representation.

"Instead, Alistair Darling is giving away our £50bn but not asking for any voting rights.  He seems to think we can trust the same corporate bosses that got us into this mess to get us out again - paid for with our money.

"I'm not so trusting. I believe ordinary people, who have been landed with the bill, should be represented in the boardrooms. We should use those votes to cut the excessive bonus rewards to failing executives, clamp down on predatory, irresponsible lending practices, and to demerge the mega-banks into smaller, more accountable firms so that this can never happen again.

"We can't let the banks go back to business as usual, as if nothing had happened. We need a Green New Deal to solve not just the financial crisis, but our resource and environmental problems too. By creating cast-iron government bonds as a secure home for pension funds and personal savings, and investing that money in green-collar work such as renewable energy or mass transit, we could end the financial panic, generate jobs, revitalise money flows, loosen ties to unreliable oil markets and cut carbon emissions."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. The Green New Deal is co-authored by Caroline Lucas, with a group of nine other economists, businesspeople and environmentalists. Taking inspiration from President Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s, it is a joined up response to the 'triple crunch' of financial crisis, peak oil production, and climate change.  For more, see: http://tinyurl.com/greennewdeal-nef






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