Former Treasury Minister calls on Darling to clean up RBS
2 Dec 2009
Andrew Smith MP, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has called on the Chancellor Alistair Darling to clean up RBS.
Senior Labour MP Andrew Smith has backed the campaign with a speech in the House of Commons
Image © Kaihsu Tai
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith has used his speech in a debate in Parliament to call on the Treasury to clean up the Royal Bank of Scotland. The senior Labour MP spoke in support of People & Planet’s campaign to stop RBS financing climate change in a debate on Treasury matters following the Queen’s Speech.
Talking about the Royal Bank of Scotland, Mr Smith, who held the jobs of Chief Secretary to the Treasury, then Work and Pensions Secretary, from 1999 to 2004, said:
The Guardian reported on 2 March this year that in the six months following the initial bail-out, RBS had been involved in financing loans worth nearly £10 billion to coal, oil and gas companies. That is more than a quarter of the amount that the bank had received from taxpayers at that point. Its loans finance oil exploitation in conflict regions in Africa and south Asia, drilling in untouched areas of the Arctic, tar sands oil extraction, and open-cast mining.
We need to question very seriously whether, at a time when we rightly voice the priority that must be given to combating climate change, those are the investment priorities that public funds should be underwriting.
Mr Smith went on to recommend to the Chancellor Alistair Darling that he read the recent report published by People & Planet, the World Development Movement, Platform and Friends of the Earth Scotland.
He finished by concluding that:
It is surely right that, in pumping billions into the banking sector and looking at how to regulate it against financial irresponsibility, we put in place requirements for environmental responsibility to help the world to avert climate catastrophe.