2019 has been an incredible year for Positive Money.
It began when our professional opinion poll uncovered that fewer than 1 in 10 people supported Chancellor Philip Hammond’s plan to sell of the Government’s RBS shares. In response, we amassed a 13,000-strong petition and march to the Treasury. We not only halted the Government’s sell-off, but changed major party policy on the issue!
Aware of Governor Carney’s nearing departure, we spent a lot of 2019 putting the search for his successor under the kind of scrutiny it deserves. We coordinated a letter in The Guardian from 94 academics and civil society organisations and kept the heat up on the new Chancellor Sajid Javid with public polling and an open letter with 28 Parliamentarians.
Less than a year after our report ‘A Green Bank of England’ came out, Governor Mark Carney made a historic move in April and committed the Bank to disclosing its climate risk. This was a vital first step towards greening our entire financial system and proved change was possible. So we didn’t stop there. We ran several actions on the Bank’s doorstop over the last few months, demanding they Unleash Green Investment Now!, handing in our petition calling for the same, and dropping off their Christmas present. All whilst grabbing some great media coverage.
In April we launched The Money Question; a website to host in-depth research and discussions on monetary reform. With contributions from Joseph Huber and Patrizio Lainà, along with an interactive public forum, this new project will ensure we stay at the forefront of debate on alternate monetary policy.
Over the course of the year, Positive Money appeared in a total of 134 news stories across television, radio, online and print publications. Including coverage from the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, BBC 5 Live, Sky, CityAM, OpenDemocracy and even Le Monde! – to name a few. Every mention grows our audience and helps our message reach a new pair of ears.
We introduced thousands of new people to Positive Money over the summer with our stalls at the Glastonbury and STIR to Action festivals. Volunteer Sarah really felt the buzz, saying; “What’s exciting is that more and more people want to learn why our economy is imbalanced, and how we can change it”.
Our network of local groups has been busy too. Hosting over 60 discussions around the country covering topics from debt jubilees and climate breakdown, to student debt and the Swedish e-krona. Our Southampton and Tower Hamlet groups set up stalls at a number of community festivals and gathered dozens of signatures, whilst one supporter from Newcastle perfected a new board game so players can learn how our money system really works – Hasbro better be on the lookout… If you’d like to join a local group keep an eye out for upcoming events here or if you’d like to start a new one in your area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
September in Westminster means only one thing: political party conference season, so our team headed up to Manchester and down to Brighton. Our events; asking how Labour would pay for the green transition and questioning Conservatives on whether our banking system is really fit for purpose got great turnouts -. pProving Positive Money is seen among politicos as *the* leading authority on money and banking in the UK.
No year would be complete without a new report! In October we launched ‘Seeking Legitimacy: A New Settlement for the Bank of England’. Exploring the complex and problematic relationship between the Treasury department and Bank of England, it advanced three key proposals for progress. MPs Clive Lewis, Ian Blackford and Catherine West, former party leader Vince Cable and academic Lord Robert Skidelsky, all joined us in Westminster for the event which you can watch here. 2020 will hopefully see the publication of our report on digital currency and the sequel to Escaping Growth Dependency!
The General Election gave us a fantastic opportunity to escalate our work on protecting access to cash. We crunched the data to discover the extent of free cash machine closures and created an online tool so voters could easily email their constituency candidates. We reached almost 25,000 candidates, covering 70% of constituencies, so fingers-crossed many new MPs will take note of their voters’ concerns. Rest assured we’ll be keeping a close eye on them to make sure!
Our colleagues at Positive Money Europe also rounded off a fantastic year in style – earlier this month they met with Christine Lagarde, new President of the European Central Bank. They delivered an open letter signed by 160+ NGOs and academics, calling on the ECB to accelerate its efforts on climate change.
Later that day Lagarde confirmed climate change will be in the agenda of the ECB’s review next year and said “I just spent half an hour with those representing the signatories of the letter and we agreed to pursue the dialogue because I need their input”. The letter, was so successful that it made into several prominent European newspapers, including the Financial Times, Bloomberg, and La Repubblica. Encouraging stuff! If you want to know more about what the growing Positive Money Europe team in Brussels have been up to, check out their blog here.
The future is uncertain. And our money and banking system is still unfair, unequal and failing to work for most people. But if there’s one thing we do know it’s that the Positive Money network are determined to keep working to reform it in a positive direction. There’s so much work still to do, but we’re excited to get stuck in in 2020.
But in the meantime, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Positive Money!
If you’d like to support our work, and help us repeat – and even beat! – this kind of success in 2020, please consider becoming a Positive Money hero by setting up a regular donation here.