On Friday we learned that Finance for the Future LLP, which is the partnership between Colin Hines and me that began trading in 2007 has won by far its largest grant award to date.
As we noted in July this year, the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation had then agreed to give Finance for the Future a grant of £20,000 a year to work on what we called the QuEST for a Green New Deal, where QuEST stands for quantitative easing, savings and tax. It is our opinion that all of these can be used for the purposes of funding the necessary processes of change that will tackle the environmental crisis that we face. Our work on changing tax reliefs for pensions and ISAs is an example of what we are doing.
This summer the Polden-Puckham trustees told us that they were changing their approach to funding, meaning that they had decided to give bigger grants to be paid out of their capital because they believe that the climate crisis is so significant that there is no time to waste in tackling it. As a result they asked us whether we might be able to use additional funds in the course of the work that we were already committed to undertake. We were invited to consider an application of in excess of £50,000.
As anyone who is involved in making grant applications will know, preparing any proposal to a grant funder is a time absorbing activity. Having considered a range of proposals Colin and I decided to bid at the lowest level that we were invited to consider. I am now pleased to confirm that we have been granted this sum for the next three years, subject of course to success in delivery in the meantime.
The scope of the work that we are doing is extended as a result of this grant. Whilst we have been engaging, largely behind the scenes, on our original proposal around ISAs and the need for green saving accounts with, we think, some success we will now considerably expand this work. This will involve engagement with pension funds on a broader basis, and will also involve:
- new thinking on the interaction between our suggestion and what are called investment taxonomies, which are the guidelines used to define what is, and is not considered green for these purposes;
- how accounting needs to reform to deliver what can be proven to be green investment opportunities;
- how green quantitative easing can really deliver;
- whether other tax reliefs need to be subject to review;
- whether this idea can be internationalised, not least by considering the role of IMF special drawing rights.
Polden-Puckham have given us the chance to be opportunistic. They are encouraging us to work with other organisations, and we will. We will also be considering how we deliver our message, which is an issue of some importance. We are also very aware that Colin and I are too older white males, and that we need to be sure that what we're saying is of relevance to diverse audiences which means that we will be looking to involve other campaigners in the project.
The result is that the total funds will by no means be only used to pay Colin and myself, albeit that we do expect that a reasonable part will be for this purpose.
We look forward to the challenge of this work.