Saturday, 20 December 2008

A Message From John Prescott

This was sent to in a message sent out to all of the members of the "NO IFS, NO BUTS - PASS ON THE CUT" Facebook group. it was originally a blog post on Labourhome.

This Christmas 340 people face losing their jobs in my Hull constituency. Whilst this sadly isn’t uncommon across the country at the moment, what’s made me very angry is that is was entirely preventable and the result of a bank’s greed.

Atlas Holiday Homes has a long and proud history – a successful firm that for 30 years had a credit facility with Barclays.

That was until the bank decided to take it away even though the company had a full order book way into March next year.

Which is why I was furious to hear Barclays Chief Executive John Varley tell the BBC that firms and households will have to wait another two years before bank lending goes back to normal.

Well it's a damn good thing we didn't wait up to two years to bail out the banking sector to the tune of £37b, isn’t it?

That’s why I started my Facebook campaign ‘No Ifs No Buts – Pass on the Cut’ to pressure the banks to pass on the interest rate cuts in full for customers and businesses.

Many of these banks were bailed out by this Government but Barclays preferred to sort out their own refinancing package with Abu Dhabi and Qatari investors.

Mr Varley said at the time: “Our ability to do what our shareholders would expect of us would be compromised if Barclays was nationalized.”

Which means they wanted to carry on giving out healthy dividends and wallet-busting bonuses. Last year, they posted profits of £7 billion.

But on 30 August 2007, Barclays was forced to borrow £1.6bn from the Bank of England sterling standby facility, which is made available as a last-resort when banks are unable to settle their debts to other banks at the end of daily trading.

Yes we bailed out Barclays by giving them a credit facility! And what did Mr Varley get last year? A bonus of £1.45 million whilst Barclay’s President got ten times as much - £14.8m

Atlas Holiday Homes can’t wait two years for banks to recapitalize, Mr Varley. They’ll go under if you uphold this ridiculous and shortsighted decision.

And you wonder why banks are facing a PR crisis? It’s not a case of saying sorry and admitting to the sins of the past. It’s about doing what is morally and economically right and passing on the interest cuts in full and increasing lending.

This Monday, Atlas will meet with the administrators and the council to see what can be done. All three Hull MPs have also written to Peter Mandelson to make him aware of the situation and ask him for help.

So in the spirit of Xmas I call on you Mr Varley and Barclays to do the decent thing and save Atlas, give them back their credit facility and make 340 Hull families very happy.

So No Ifs, No Buts – get lending!

You can join our 'No Ifs, No Buts, Pass on the Cut' facebook group here.

I agree with this, the sheer arrogance of the banks infuriates me. We have to take extraordinary steps to stabilise the economy and clean up their mess but they think that they can just go on with business as usual. This is unacceptable and we should use the fact that we have the whip hand right now to make some positive changes.

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