Today we’re releasing poll results which show that only a fraction of people support the Government’s plans to sell off RBS in the near future. (You can read the Guardian’s coverage here.)
Selling RBS would represent a huge missed opportunity to help reform Britain’s banking sector. Before RBS releases its annual results tomorrow, we’re launching a petition to Philip Hammond, calling on him to cancel any further sale and keep RBS in public ownership, with a mission to serve the UK public.
Please help by sharing this petition far and wide! Some suggested tweets:
- Stop the RBS sell-off before it’s too late! Please join me and sign the petition to @PhilipHammondUK #banksforpeople https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-the-rbs-sell-off
- Selling RBS is a huge missed opportunity to help reform Britain’s banking system. Demand @PhilipHammondUK keep RBS in public hands! #banksforpeople https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-the-rbs-sell-off
The poll, commissioned by Positive Money and carried out by YouGov, reveals that only 9% of people think RBS should be sold off in the near future, and only 11% of people think RBS would be run in the public interest if it returns to private ownership.
Britain’s banking sector is heavily skewed towards lending to property and financial trading, and does a poor job of serving consumers and businesses. In the decade since the financial crash, 55% of UK bank lending has gone towards mortgages and 18% went to the financial sector. Meanwhile lending to productive sectors such as manufacturing accounted for just 10% of the total.
Meanwhile, banks continue to close branches at an alarming rate, with Which? estimating that 2,961 have closed or are due to close between 2015 and January 2019. Banks’ lobbying for a reduction in the amount they pay towards maintaining the ATM network has led to the closure of over 250 free cash machines per month.
Instead of selling its stake in RBS, the Government could give it a mission to serve the British public. A number of improvements to RBS’s business model are possible, from shifting its lending towards SMEs, to investing in the green economy, to expanding access to banking services in communities that are currently under-served.