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From the archives: 2008 Attwood Award

November 30, 2010



Does the supply of money have to rely on interest rates set by the Bank Of England? Not according to Austin Mitchell who – in the tradition of great Birmingham MP Thomas Attwood – wants to see money issued, interest free, for public works.

Parliament’s taboo on answering questions about the monetary system and the Bank of England – stonewalled with a standard phrase “That is a matter for the Bank of England” – has been breached by MP Austin Mitchell using an indirect approach.

In the Commons earlier this month, MPs and other people interested in the financial system celebrated Austin’s reception of the 2008 Attwood Award for this work.

The meeting was ably facilitated by Sabine McNeill.

Patrick Baird – Head of Public Service for Archives and Heritage at Birmingham Central Library – spoke about Thomas Attwood, Birmingham’s first MP, who worked for parliamentary reform and promoted measures leading to full employment, peace and prosperity, having seen the effects of growing poverty on ‘an affectionate people’ in Birmingham.

Cross party input was invited from Austin [Labour], Elfyn Llwyd [Plaid Cymru] and Dr Scott Cato [Green Party]. None of the LibDem or Conservative signatories attended.

Later, Localise West Midlands’ Andrew Lydon spoke about the Regional Prosperity & Inflation Framework and Colin Hines about People’s Pensions and Municipal Bonds.

In a series of Early Day Motions, Austin Mitchell has recommended a return to the practice of increasing the supply of public money – M0, which is issued interest free every year by the government – to meet public needs such as the building of schools, hospitals, renewable energy technology and public transport, without going into debt.

They have been signed over the years by 70 or so MPs from five parties and none, including West Midland MPs Lynne Jones, Roger Godsiff and Dr Richard Taylor.

Hopefully one day the public will no longer accept the government mantra “There is no money” – which is never uttered when funding warfare or propping up private banks.

Article first published here. 

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