London, 6 August 2020 – The Bank of England was the scene of protests this morning as campaigners called on Britain’s central bank to act on its pledges to support a green COVID recovery.
Campaigners accused the Bank of England of failing on pledges to ‘build back better’ from the covid crisis, as recent research reveals the Bank is currently pumping tens of billions of pounds towards companies which are polluting the planet and laying off workers.
Members of the public gathered outside Threadneedle Street as the Bank of England published its decision on interest rates and quantitative easing (QE), as well as its latest Financial Stability Report. Activists wore Andrew Bailey masks, holding up speech bubbles with the governor’s statements on the need to decarbonise and seize the opportunity for a green recovery.
Banners called on Bailey to “put your money where your mouth” is, and reminded the Bank that there is “no economic stability in a climate emergency”.
The Bank’s latest reports made almost no reference to the climate emergency, with the only mention in the Financial Stability Report, which noted that the Bank had delayed its climate stress tests until 2021.
The protests come as new research published by the New Economics Foundation on Tuesday revealed that £11.4 billion of the Bank of England’s corporate QE programme has gone towards high-carbon companies, including the likes of Shell and BP. This is despite Andrew Bailey pledging to make decarbonising the Bank’s balance sheet “a priority” when he became governor in March.
Research from Positive Money also revealed that more than £10 billion (56%) of the Bank of England’s new Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) is bailing out polluting firms, including airlines, oil and gas companies and chemical giants. Bolstering it’s petition demanding an end to these no-strings attached bailouts, which has reached almost 12,000 signatures.
Campaigners are calling for the Bank of England to lead by example in building a green recovery by following through on its pledge to decarbonise its QE programme, and attaching social and environmental conditions to its corporate bailouts, in order to stop beneficiaries laying off workers and fuelling climate breakdown. A YouGov survey commissioned by Positive Money in July found that two thirds of the public support attaching such conditions to public financial assistance.
Rachel Oliver, head of campaigns and organising at Positive Money, said:
“Andrew Bailey understands that environmental breakdown poses an existential threat to economic and financial stability, but he is failing to put his money where his mouth is. It is hugely disappointing that the Bank of England is putting climate on the backburner when it has such a huge opportunity to do something about it.
“Not only is the Bank of England failing to protect people and planet, it’s also putting corporate elites ahead of the rest of us, giving billions of pounds of no-strings-attached bailouts to firms which have splashed out on dividends while slashing tens of thousands of jobs.
“If the government truly wants to ‘build back better’, it needs to make sure all of the powerful tools at our central bank’s disposal are geared towards supporting a fairer and greener recovery. Doing so is the only way to make sure the coronavirus crisis isn’t followed by an even bigger climate crisis.”
- Photos from the action can be viewed here and are available for use
- The action was organised by research and campaign group Positive Money. Positive Money campaigns for a money and banking system which supports a fair, democratic and sustainable economy. Set up in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Positive Money is a not-for-profit company funded by charitable trusts and foundations, as well as small donations from its network of over 65,000 supporters. www.positivemoney.org
- For more information or to arrange a briefing/interview with a spokesperson or for any other questions regarding the campaign please contact Simon Youel at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07817765517