Friday 15 January 2010

Good for Simon Jenkins!

As he wrote In the Guardian recently ,

"There will be a tidal wave of rage. Over the next 2 weeks the executives of the leading British banks will announce that some £50bn is to be taken from accumulated profits and handed over, not to shareholders or taxpayers, but to themselves. It will be the most outrageous contempt of democratic authority in modern times ".

That just about sums it up. And the Banks and their Bankers Association will complain and whine if anyone so much as has the temerity to question their greed and arrogance.

At least Goldman Sachs has has the sense to realise this is a PR disaster for them and has told all those getting bonuses they must donate part to charity. Good for them. I hope they go further and suggest a tithe of every bonus ( that's a biblical 10% ). We would be happy to work with them on where best to direct money and how to demonstrate back to the givers the impact their gift has made.

And perhaps the British Bankers Association might spend less time attacking governments and the public for daring to even criticise this "business as usual" , approach and encourage all those receiving bonuses to follow the Goldman example. So Angela , how about it?

In the meantime our campaign to ensure Better Banking must gather pace and strength. We need to ensure banking reform is centre stage in Party Manifestos.

The new proposals from Obama in the States for a fee to ensure the banks pay the taxpayers back is something we need to consider here.

I am really keen also on the campaign of London Citizens
who are trying to persuade those executives about to receive their huge bonus pot to look at their own staffing and to ensure that their cleaners and receptionists are on a living wage. They are not.

You might think that the Banks would consider the welfare of all their staff, not just the richest minority. If there is money to distribute in bonuses- what about those at the bottom of the pile as well as those at the top? ACEVO is a member of the living wage campaign. Every third sector organisation should be.

Good news : the Conservatives are very interested in the ideas we have made on public spending cuts and we are in the process of arranging meetings etc. We are also in touch with the Lib Dems.

I met a group of members who make up Faith Action which is a collective of faith organisations involved in service delivery. We met in Canada Tower , the UK's tallest building , 100.000 people work in Canary Wharf and we had a presentation from the organisation that runs the place! And you read it here; they have some very cheap accomodation (c£6 psf ) they are offering to charities on a temporary basis- ideal for a project or a short term move so if you are an ACEVO member looking for space short term e-mail me!

It was a good discussion: I spoke about the strong faith impulse behind much service provision and of course the history of the running of hospitals and schools in this country is that many of these were established by faith charities. We agreed that the imminent spending cuts may offer an opportunity if governments look at radical ways of delivering services differently but that there is a real danger that cuts will hurt many sector bodies and we will be expected to deliver services cheaply.

I ended the day at Lancaster House celebrating the work of the government's Equalities Office and the achievement in getting more diverse appointments to public bodies .

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