The Hannah Mitchell Foundation, a campaign for Northern regional government, has warmly supported Ed Milband’s call for a network of regional banks.
“This is the sort of radical and creative thinking which Labour needs to do more of,” said the Foundation’s chair, Barry Winter. “Northern businesses – and people with new ideas – need the support of a banking system which understands the needs of the region. We simply don’t have that at the moment.”
The inspiration for the regional banks plan owes much to the experience of the German regional and local banks, the ‘sparkassen’. They are only able to lend within their region and have a duty to ‘promote civic growth’. Professor Paul Salveson, general secretary of the Foundation, commented that “there are many more lessons to be learnt from the German experience. Alongside regional banks the Germans have a highly effective system of directly-elected regional government which works closely with the regional banks. We need something similar here if we are serious about promoting a strong Northern economy”.
In 2011 the German local banks had a total loan stock of £280 billion whilst the figure for German commercial banks was only £153 billion. “Having a strong network of regional and local banks, some run as co-operatives and mutuals, is essential for the revival of the North’s economy. Working with a Northern regional government and empowered local authorities, we could reverse the decline of the region’s industrial base,” said Barry.
Ends/ For more information ring Paul Salveson 07795 008691
Download the document (MS Word doc): Welcome for Miliband’s regional banks proposal
Note for editors
The Hannah Mitchell Foundation is a broadly-based campaign for Northern devolution, supported by many Northern MPs and peers. Linda Riordan is president of the Foundation.
The Foundation was founded in March 2012 to lobby for devolution to the North of England and is rapidly building up support across the North of England. Its patrons include Lord Prescott, several MPs and the grand-son of Hannah Mitchell. Hannah (1871-1946) was a radical activist who was imprisoned during the agitation for women’s votes. She went on to become a popular councillor in the Newton Heath ward of Manchester. Although she had just two weeks of formal schooling she was a talented writer.