By Daniel Hunter
The London Assembly has urged the Mayor to ensure that the Greater London Authority only uses banks with a strong record of lending to small business and a commitment to corporate responsibility.
The motion, agreed unanimously by Assembly Members, called for the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to take a close look at where they buy banking services.
In the four years from 2008-12 the GLA group spent almost £35m on charges and other costs for a variety of services including card processing, foreign exchange, bonds and securities.
“It’s time the Mayor lived up to his own Responsible Procurement policy and moved his business — and Londoners’ cash — to banks with a stronger record on lending to small business," Jenny Jones AM, who proposed the motion, said.
“Over the last few years the big banks have repeatedly failed in their duty to support small businesses and instead allowed reckless and unsustainable lending and spiralling bonus bills. Moving our business would send a powerful message about what kind of a financial services industry we need now and into the future.
“The Mayor must take a lead and add his voice to the clamour for banking reform.”
Jennette Arnold AM, who seconded the motion, said: “Many Londoners are struggling with financial exclusion and left to the mercy of loan sharks because of the failure of the big banks to provide affordable finance. It’s about time the GLA joined other cities like New York, Seattle and Buffalo and move our business to banks that share our commitment to responsible banking.
“The Mayor must put his money where his mouth is, and only do business with banks who have a strong track record of lending to small businesses in the capital.”
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