Thousands sign petition demanding Hunt stops handing billions to the banks

Almost 11,500 people have signed a petition calling on the chancellor and the governor of the Bank of England not to give the banks billions of pounds of public money.

Jeremy Hunt

The petition is also demanding that the government launches a review of the current macroeconomic and monetary policy frameworks, claiming that the responses by the government and Bank of England to the cost of living crisis are not working and show there is an urgent need for a rethink.

The petition has been launched by Positive Money UK, advocates of a money and banking system that enables a fair, democratic and sustainable economy.

Providing some context around the aim of the appeal, the organisers note how, as the UK braces for more cuts to public services, banks are quietly set to get an estimated £80 billion from the government over the next two years for doing nothing. The former Bank of England governor Paul Tucker, Positive Money continues, recently calculated that expected interest rate increases mean that banks will receive around £80 billion of public funds over the next two years through the process.

“The fact banks are set to receive a huge windfall while everyone else is struggling, combined with the chaos around the mini-budget where the government ended up in a stand-off with the Bank of England, shows we need an urgent rethink of the current policymaking framework,” say the campaigners.

The last time the government carried out a review of the monetary policy framework was in 2013. Monetary policy has, as described by the government, played “a critical role to play in supporting the economy as the government delivers on its commitment to necessary fiscal consolidation.” Monetary policy aims to maintain the value of money relative to the goods and services it is used to purchase.” To ensure the policy can continue to play that role fully, the government reviewed the monetary policy framework.  

Despite promising to publish another review by the end of 2019, nothing has been launched.

In the Autumn Statement in November, Jeremy Hunt announced around £25bn of tax increases and £36bn in spending cuts to plug a so-called £60bn ‘black hole’ in the public finances. Economists voiced concern that such measures could undermine public services and drag the UK into a far deeper recession.

From marking a return to austerity with spending cuts to paving the way for more families to fall into fuel poverty and refusing to extend to free school meals, the Autumn Budget was criticised for failing to help ordinary workers and the vulnerable.

“Rather than enforcing more austerity, Jeremy Hunt should end the huge giveaways to the banks and launch an overdue review into the way the Bank of England conducts monetary policy, and the broader macroeconomic policymaking framework,” state the organisers of the petition.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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