Monday, 2 April 2012

Getting Lambeth council to move its money

We have long campaigned to clean up Lambeth Council's finances. This has included where its pension fund is invested.

More recently questions have also been raised about council taxpayer's money going to an arms manufacturer.

Lambeth Living - owned by Lambeth council - employed the services of Vangeant, which was taken over by the commercial arms company General Dynamics in a £588million deal in August last year. The US-based firm makes machine guns, missiles, rockets and tanks.

Lambeth Living manages around 34,000 tenants' and leaseholders' properties on behalf of the Council. When Vangeant was taken over by General Dymanics, the Council said there was nothing it could do. However Lambeth Living's contract with Vangeant was subsequently renewed and extended.

We will keep campaigning on these issues. But it is good to see that another area where the council could do better has now been identified. The Move Your Money campaign is now focusing on where Lambeth keeps its cash. As the campaign points out:

Councils such as Lambeth [who currently bank with NatWest - a subsidiary of RBS] administer millions of pounds of public funds, which can be better invested to achieve positive change in our local communities.

Ethical alternatives, such as the Co-operative Bank, CCLA, and Triodos, offer similar financial services to the High Street banks, but are more ethically responsible with their investments, whilst actively promoting small business and investing in the development of our local communities.

The key thing here is that it makes sense not just ethically, but financially. Keeping money in the local community, and investing it in local credit unions, helps the local economy by helping to make more local credit available. These are proposals that we are also putting forward during our London election campaign.

You can sign the move your money petition here.

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