Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

MPs Hit out over Ending of Bank's Charity Funding

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

MPs Hit out over Ending of Bank's Charity Funding

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson Regional Affairs Correspondent

VIRGIN Money's decision to end its charity links to the region is "typical of banks putting profit before people", an MP has warned.

Labour's Dave Anderson was among many to speak out yesterday over the decision by Richard Branson's Newcastle-based bank to end funding for the Northern Rock Foundation.

Over 16 years the charity had handed out more than PS215m, with a particular focus on helping groups working with some of the most disadvantaged in the region.

That Northern-focus saw the Foundation become one of the most important backers of good causes in the North East, thanks to a 5% share of pre-tax profits at Northern Rock.

That profit link was reduced to 1% by the Government after the financial crash, a system Mr Branson's bank inherited. After handing over PS1.5m, more than it needed to under the agreement, the bank this week said it would no longer be funding the foundation.

When the Northern Rock crisis started in 2007 Mr Anderson led calls for the foundation to be protected with a Parliamentary early day motion in which he said he wanted to "expresses concern that the foundation is at risk as its funding comes from 5% of Northern Rock's pre-tax profits."

The MP's motion added that the work of the foundation should "be taken into account in negotiations on the future of Northern Rock and the potential impact of its break-up on the most vulnerable in the North East."

Mr Anderson told The Journal: "This is a very sad announcement and sadly typical of banks putting profit before people.

"The North East has lost a muchcherished funding resource, lost because of this crass behaviour. This decision gravely endangers the work of hundreds of community and voluntary organisations which directly benefit children and young people at risk, older people in care and need of support and victims of domestic abuse and crimes of hate. …

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