Monday, September 10, 2012

TUC 2012: Nationalise the Banks?

Motion 27 "Public Ownership of the banks" moved by the Fire Brigades Union saw the first real "debate" of Congress since there was a speaker against. While much of the motion makes sense I don’t see the answer to the "disastrous role of the banks" being "full public ownership of the sector". In the TUC statement on the motion it mentioned the huge cost of doing so (£180 billion) and fairly asked whether this would this include successful and well run mutual banks such as Nationwide and the Co-op?

I was surprised that during the debate there was no discussion about the role of workers capital and the governance of banks? It was mentioned that the money in banks is "our money" but we also already own significant bits of many banks via our pension and insurance funds. The problem is not just the "de-regulated, free market model" – it’s also that we have no meaningful way of exercising our rights (and responsibilities) of ownership over our shareholding in banks and other companies.

Decisions are taken by fund managers in our name with our money but often in their interests and that of the financial services "mates culture".

The motion was passed (UNISON abstained since no policy) but I understand that since the TUC Council statement was also approved then the statement overrides the motion. Classic TUC.


Anonymous said...

As the FBU speaker pointed out, that £180bn figure is nonsense given we already 'own' the banking system thanks to the bailouts.

It's even more nonsense when, as you point out, we own further chunks of the banks through pension funds etc.

John Gray said...

Hi anon

Well, it is calling for the full public ownership of the sector. Which will have to include the insurance companies et al. £180 bn is probably a little low.

Anyway, £180 billion or 1.8bn it's like barking at the moon.