The Bath People’s Assembly, a local debating and discussion group, has called for Bath and North East Somerset Council to switch banks and be more ethical with where they are keeping their money.
B&NES Council currently bank with NatWest, part of the RBS group who have a history being involved with funding corporations involved in the arms trade (including the manufacture of cluster bombs) and fossil fuels, including tar sands projects in Canada and Madagascar, which has damaged wildlife and poisoned the water supplies of over 120,000 people in Madagascar. RBS were also a key player in the recent financial crisis.
The national Move Your Money campaign is calling on people, businesses and local authorities to Move their Money from high street banks into ethical banks (such as The Co-operative and Triodos) and credit unions (such as Bristol Credit Union), to ensure that a greater proportion of money is used to fund environmental initiatives, community projects and small and/or ethical businesses, and less money is used to fund things like wars and environmental devastation. Ethical Consumer rate NatWest/RBS at 1.5 out of 20.
A petition has been set up on the B&NES Council website using their e-petitions service. It is understood that this is only the second time this service has been utilised, despite having been available for several years now. The petition requests that the council move their account to an ethical bank such as the Co-operative or Triodos, which offer similar services and the same financial as High Street banks, whilst being more responsible with their investments.
This idea was discussed by individual attendees at the regular Bath People’s Assembly meetings and has gained popular support at the meetings.