People with little money and no prospects need all the help they can get from agencies designed as public services and accountable to the public. They should not be forced to access these services through a private, for-profit company.
Saturday, 18 December 2010
More on banking
We reported in October 2009 that A4e had set up a company called Capitec UK Ltd under an unclear relationship with the South African bank, Capitec, and had been given a £1m grant from Yorkshire Forward's Regional Industrial Development Board to get a bank up and running. That seemed to fall through. But A4e haven't given up. Mark Lovell has had a lot to say about ways of getting involved in "financial services and banking for the poor", citing schemes in the UK and abroad. In a blog post on 17 November he mentions his admiration for Capitec, but saysa nothing about Capitec UK. Five days earlier another post set out what he percieves as the shortcomings of the Post Office Bank and insists, "There is a need for a radical new banking service for people stuck below and outside mainstream financial services. The Post Office network may be invigorated through these proposals but the financial proposition is a long way from supporting the most financially vulnerable and marginalised. I still intend to do something about it." And in that post he refers to a document called "Total Person" which explains A4e's ambition to have a single "broker" for all the interventions and services which a client needs. It's a well-developed programme; and given Emma Harrison's apparent success with the coalition government it could see a further spread, especially given the intention, by A4e at least, that the Work Programme will give them the right to deal with "whole families". That is chilling enough in itself, but coupled with a banking service for these clients it would be nightmarish.