I recently wrote to one of my councillors, Nigel Bagshaw, to ask with whom Edinburgh City Council banks, and whether, if this were not an ethical bank, the Council would consider moving its accounts. Here is the disappointing answer I received:
Apparently, Edinburgh currently banks with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The current contract expires in September 2013 and a tender for the provision of the banking services will be undertaken in early part of 2013 based on quality / price evaluation criteria.
So, like many other areas of the Council, there is no ‘ethical’ element involved here. However, we can certainly raise the matter of ethical banking when the new tender is discussed in committee.
As readers of this blog will know, I have been campaigning for Scotmid to cease banking with the highly unethical RBS, and for RBS to get out of our schools. I am appalled that the Council not only banks with RBS but does not, as a matter of course, consider ethics when choosing its banking facilities.
Please write to at least one of your councillors along the following lines (best if you use your own words):
Dear [councillor’s name]
I am one of your constituents. I believe Edinburgh City Council currently banks with the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the most unethical banking institutions there is, according to Move Your Money UK. The RBS invests in projects which have hugely negative effects on human rights and the environment, and by depositing ratepayers’ money with them, Edinburgh City Council is effectively endorsing such policies and worsening Edinburgh’s environmental and human rights footprint, making a mockery of any pretence at sustainable development.
Furthermore I believe that when Edinburgh City Council’s banking contract comes up for renewal in 2013, there are no plans to incorporate any criteria in the decision-making process other than ‘quality’ and ‘price’. What price the environment and human rights? I urge you to recommend that the Council considers ethical criteria in all its budgetary and contracting decisions. I look forward to your response.
[Your name and address]