Budget reaction: where was the Post Bank?

He should also have offered a tangible reform in both areas in the form of a Post Office Bank which would simultaneously help small local businesses- the underpinning of our economic future- and increase people's trust in the banking system. It's not too late. As a practical and popular measure, he can still announce the setting up of a Post Bank in the wake of the Budget.


Budget reaction: efficiency savings could derail public services when we need them most

Measures to rebalance the tax burden are welcome, but don't go far enough. With the worst impacts of the recession still to play out in full, the Government should be using this opportunity to take a progressive approach to taxation so that the companies and individuals who have benefitted most pay their fair share, ensuring that we can invest in the public safety nets we need to protect us from the worst impacts of the recession, and against future shocks. More

Budget reaction: Banks are too-big-to-fail and must now be broken up

Bail-outs have now boosted UK national debt to staggering levels but have done little to stop the rot in our financial sector. By refusing to acknowledge the deep structural failings in the banking system, the Government is storing up debts they'll probably never have to deal with, and no future government will be able to meet without decimating core public services. Banks that really have become too-big-to-fail leave the UK very vulnerable and must now be broken up. More

The coming food crisis?

So far, so familiar to most environmentalists and oil peakists. But Kell has also called for lb100 million of public money to made available for research into how crop yields might be maximised, so that the crisis might be averted. Now where do you think that money would go? More

No green shoots on climate change

The comparison is useful in more ways than one. It reveals how governments can recognise and act to avert systemic risk in some areas like high finance and flu, but have blind spots or grossly inadequate responses in others, such as climate change. More

Review: The Contingency Plan at the Bush Theatre

Looming environmental destruction, on the other hand, hasn't ever grabbed artists in quite the same way. More

Value, not efficiency, is what public services need

SROI promotes the idea of 'social value', a concept that is gaining increasing currency across the political spectrum. In some ways its legitimacy is indisputable; few people would argue that things that are bought and sold and have an 'economic value' are the things that matter most, yet in our daily lives we generally unwittingly accept that to be the case. What people have resisted is the notion that this type of value is measurable and quantifiable. While concerns about this are understandable they are misguided and ultimately unhelpful. More

The banks also need to feel the pinch, George

Let's hope, as the chancellor prepares his Mansion House speech on Wednesday evening, that he has already included brave words about the banks along the lines of "I know that the cuts I am announcing are in part the result of banking folly and greed. And so I am entirely with my colleague Vince Cable, who is even now preparing root-and-branch banking reform. We cannot have a public service cuts programme without the banks being equally painfully reformed."


Labour must turn its attention to taming the banks

We need a universal banking obligation. It would mean that everyone, by right, would have access to the full range of banking services – whereas at the moment, one of the great fights with the banks has been the way they’ve chosen customers to maximise profitability and created finance deserts for poor communities. On the ground, it propels people into the hands of vulture lenders with baseball bats.


The rise and fall of BP

As names go, the First Exploitation Company sounds like an inspired slight dreamed up by an angry anti-oil campaigner. In fact, it was the original title, coined in 1903, of the troubled company we now know as BP. But then, public relations have never been its strong point.


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