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Admirable politician Austin Mitchell: in the Spirit of ‘45

August 29, 2013

austin mitchellMP Austin Mitchell broke the political taboo on the subject of monetary reform with his Early Day Motion 1515.

It urged the Government to redress the balance back to the people by instructing the Bank of England to create credit to be used exclusively to finance necessary public investment in schools, hospitals, transport, police, social services and defence … and to ensure that the heavy extra costs of financing public projects by the Public Finance Initiative or Public Private Partnerships is massively reduced, while enabling more public sector investment to be embarked on to stimulate employment and economic growth … more EDMs followed.


Austin has just had heart surgery and we wish him a full recovery.


In 1948, when 46% of the money supply was issued by government, schools, hospitals, housing and social investment were funded and inflation kept at a low level. H.J. Massingham continued to advocate a reformed money system and a group of MPs set up the Radcliffe Committee on Credit and Currency in 1957.

In the intervening years, political mainstream discussion of the subject lapsed – the transactions of the Bank of England were not open to scrutiny and debate. An authority on parliamentary procedure sent MP Alf Morris documents and letters which recorded that: “. . . Parliamentary questions are not a fruitful source of information about the Bank of England’s practice. . . “. Hansard records the way in which such questions and requests for information were blocked in the House of Commons; examples included a refusal to make a statements as requested, (1.4.93), a pronouncement that it is not the normal practice to comment (12.11.85) and an assertion that it is their prerogative to determine policy in answering questions (1.4.93).

People had the benefit of a 46% debt-free money stock in 1948 and this could be enjoyed today, given the political will. For a detailed examination of the subject see James Robertson, who spent three years in the Cabinet Office before setting up and heading an Inter-Bank Research Organisation for the big British banks for five years, led a team reporting on the future of London as a financial centre and advised the House of Commons Procedure Committee on parliamentary scrutiny of public expenditure and taxation.

It is good to see the younger generation now campaigning on this issue. For news of current activities see the Positive Money website.

The public is now repeatedly told that there is not enough money to meet the needs of public transport, hospitals, schools and policing, but – if the rate of 46% of the cash and non-cash money supply had been maintained – it has been estimated that government would have an additional £30-44 billions to invest annually in social infrastructure.

Though the political objection to ‘printing money’ has been jettisoned, it has been done to no good purpose – merely filling the coffers of financial speculators.

Austin received an Attwood Award in 2008:


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