Time to face up to responsibilities

From: Quentin Ashton

By e-mail

The economic disaster unleashed by the banks that Peter Bradley, of Sheffield Cathedral, has recently written about, has led the world to the brink of a social and economic apocalypse; the thinking behind their actions is behind the social factors that cause homelessness, unemployment, poverty, addiction issues and mental health problems.

Yet he seems more worried about his relationship with the local banks when many of the people using the Archer Project are forced there due to a social and economic system that has ignored their wellbeing at the expense of the wishes of banks such as Barclays and HSBC, who use money deposited by Sheffield people at local bank branches to fund the risky finance model that caused the economic disaster we’re bearing the brunt of.

The people at the Occupation are amongst those with the least voice and power in our society; the banks giving lip service to the church through their donations have the most power and influence of any commercial organisations in the world today.

The cathedral does great work with the Archer Project. Yet a look at the project’s supporters reveals that they include Cadbury’s, which following its takeover by US multinational Kraft, is undergoing a ‘restructuring’ which will channel profits made by the British brand through Switzerland.

It is estimated that this move will cost the UK taxpayer £60 million a year, money that Kraft can well afford - it pocketed £590m in profit in 2010.

Peter Bradley calls the donations from his banking partners ‘generous’ but this is actually less than the least we can expect of them; although Lloyds TSB contributed £20,000 toward the Cathedral’s £6.5million overhaul, £20,000 is less than a day’s pay for the Chief Executive of Lloyds Group, who received over £10million in bonuses and basic pay this year.

Why isn’t Peter Bradley asking local and national representatives of Barclays and HSBC to join the conversation with the Occupation, as has happened at St Paul’s Cathedral with the London Connection initiative, so that they can come face to face with the people who their greed and arrogance have affected deeply?

It would have sounded far more constructive of him to suggest that at the end of his recent Radio Sheffield interview than brushing the whole thing aside to tell people about his mince pie giveaway.