Posts Tagged ‘Community Banking Charter’

Labour must take the lead on extending competition in the banking sector

02/07/2014, 07:23:59 PM

by Callum Anderson

With a little under a year until the 2015 general election, Labour is marginally ahead of the Conservatives in most polls, yet Ed Miliband continues to trail the prime minister on the issue of leadership and the two Eds still lag behind the prime minister and the chancellor on who people trust to run the economy and, in particular, who will best secure the public finances.

Indeed, as is agreed by most people, it is the economy, and how the two main parties intend on developing it over the next five years, that will dominate the political discourse over the next twelve months.

Now, whilst the public finances are quite reasonably the fundamental dividing lines between Labour and the coalition government, it is essential that other issues surrounding the cost of living crisis are also not ignored: rising energy prices, the shortage of affordable housing, to name just a few examples.

But there is another strand of this debate that is sometimes overlooked: the provision of basic financial products –a bank account, access to fair and affordable credit –that are, quite simply vital to everyone across the country if they are to participate fully in the UK economy.

The Community Investment Coalition (CIC) this month launched its Community Banking Charter states these basic financial products that every adult, household and business in the UK should have access to the following:

  • A basic transactional bank account;
  • A savings scheme;
  • Credit;
  • Physical access to branch banking facilities;
  • Insurance; and
  • Independent money management advice.

Everyone, regardless of party affiliation, will agree that these six elements are not excessive. Without access to these basic products, millions are been prevented them from participating fully in the economy. Add this grim reality to the coalition government’s calamitous rolling out of Universal Credit, and you have a situation where it is extremely difficult for people to escape poverty.


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