David Cameron, Prime Minister, & Ross McEwan, RBS Chief Executive, discuss Woodstock NatWest

Is this good enough?  The RBS Chief, Ross McEwan, responded to David Cameron’s letter about the campaign we are all part of to save the Woodstock branch. If taken on face value you might think many of the queries have been remedied. Think again. These are the points I have asked Mr Cameron to go back and get confirmed:

“But please delve below the banking speak and go back to the man that is running the bank that we all own and ask for clarification on the following points: 

  • RM says: “we have reached an agreement with the local post office – which is only a short walk away – that currently allows our customers to take money out, check balances and pay bills free of charge”
  • Q: the implication is that a one-off agreement has been reached with this one PO. Is this correct? Because if it is NOT then “customers” does NOT include business customers. Are they no longer to be considered “customers” by RBS? In addition has the bank come to an agreement with the PO on how the elderly and disabled will be served, given that the access to the PO is extremely difficult?
  • “in the coming months we will increase that offering to allow customers to deposit cash and cheques as well”
  • Q: the implication is that this agreement is close to completion and will be available in the next few months, is this correct? If so could the detail of the agreement actually be outlined because none of the other main high street banks have achieved this function so far with the PO? Also can you confirm if your customers from the business community continue to be excluded from this?
  • “We also intend to keep the ATM in place at the branch”
  • Q: what does “intend” mean? Research by locals suggests that the ATM will be run by a third party: is this correct? Why would you suggest that the bank are keeping this function themselves? How long will this facility continue to be free if the bank does not own the ATM?

There are many more questions that remain unanswered, however, these questions sound huge alarm bells that the local community deserve to have truly transparent answers to, don’t you agree?”

What do you think? Are RBS being straight with the community about why they are leaving? is Ross McEwan being transparent in his response to our Prime Minister?

I know what I think and I know what I will continue to do: CAMPAIGN!

If you would like more information, a copy of the full letter exchange between them or simply to add your support email us at: campaign@community-buying.com

A night to celebrate all of our people

My amazing team, representing every amazing person that has ever worked for or with CBL, collecting the certificate for Micro Business Award finalists at the West Oxfordshire Business Awards dinner at Heythrop Park
RARELY KNOWN TO PUT ON A SUIT…BUT EVENING TAILS?          Katy Cameron & Faye Parker: my amazing team, collecting the certificate for Micro Business Award finalists, on behalf of every amazing person that has ever worked for or with CBL
Katy Cameron, Ana Bonasera & Faye Parker each have played a significant role in our journey...I am humbled they are so proud to tell the world all about our achievements
THEY TAUGHT ME SO MUCH ABOUT MY OWN BUSINESS BY INSISTING THAT WE BE INVOLVED IN THESE AWARDS!  Katy Cameron, Ana Bonasera & Faye Parker…each have played a significant role in our journey…I am humbled they are so proud of what they are part of they wanted to tell the world all about our achievements
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REPRESENTING SO MANY BRILLIANT PEOPLE THAT HAVE ADDED THEIR UNIQUE ABILITIES AND TALENTS ON A WHOLE BUNCH OF PROJECTS OVER THE FOUR YEARS: Anthony Russell & Ana Bonasera
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THE COLLABORATORS – A RICH TAPESTRY OF SUPPORTERS, ADVOCATES, BACKERS & MENTORS WE THANK YOU ALL: Paul & Jo Rockwood 
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THERE ON BEHALF OF ALL OUR MEMBERS – YOUNG AND OLD – AND ALSO THE GREATEST MENTOR OF ALL: Mrs Pomfret!
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A MAVERICK NEEDS A PERFECT FOIL – TRUE PARTNERSHIP: Hannah Jago
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IT MAY APPEAR DARK BUT SHE IS AN INSPIRATIONAL LIGHT IN CBL: Hannah Jago
Brendan Cross of Hexagon Business Centres presents the award certificate to Micro Business Award finalists Community Buying Unlimited - Katy Cameron, Chris Pomfret & Faye Parker - at the West Oxfordshire Business Awards dinner at Heythrop Park Picture: Ric Mellis
THE APPLICATION & THE INTERVIEW PROCESS WERE HUGE LEARNING EXPERIENCES FOR ME – WHEN DO BUSINESS OWNERS GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO REFLECT ON & THEN PRESENT AGAINST EXTREMELY TOUGH COMPETITION WHAT MAKES THEIR BUSINESS BEYOND NORMAL LEVELS OF SPECIAL? Brendon Cross of Hexagon Business Centres presenting the award certificate to Micro Business Award finalists Community Buying Unlimited – Katy Cameron, Chris Pomfret & Faye Parker – at the West Oxfordshire Business Awards dinner at Heythrop Park.  Picture: Ric Mellis      WE TRULY DID HAVE A SPLENDID GALA EVENING – WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK WOBA FOR PULLING TOGETHER SUCH AN EXTRAORDINARY EVENT THAT WILL LAST MUCH LONGER THAN ONE NIGHT

We are always happy to hear your feedback: chris@community-buying.com

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Peace of mind.

For one whole day my mind was completely at ease. History suggests that Christmas Day has been a day of such peace for many in extraordinary situations and, whilst I am not suggesting that my day of peace was anything like a football match in no man’s land between two warring nations, it was an amazing day for me. My true love is simple…the people in my life. I got to spend the whole of The First Day of Christmas 2013 with those special ones…the three extraordinary women – spanning three generations – in my life and this little chap that has brought happiness, harmony and delightful moments of joy.

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I hope that you got to spend your day with your special ones…and enjoyed the same day of peace in your mind.

They talk Fuel Poverty, whilst we talk real people

Solutions are extremely few and far between when all you see is the challenge. Fuel Poverty is an extraordinarily complex issue, but the more I read the stats, the labels and the political policy, I realise those that need to do something about it haven’t got a clue how to do it.

At CBL we look from a different angle. When you take a different look, you see different things. We don’t see numbers, we see real people: real people struggling to survive – literally. So this is what we have done: designed a solution. It is a unique new way for those families struggling to pay for even a minimum delivery of heating OIL to, first FIX the price, then spread the costs on a budget plan. This is unique – never been done before. This is what government, charity, supply industry and many other interested parties have been looking to do for years and now it is done. The biggest step forward in tackling OIL Fuel Poverty that has ever been conceived launched only 48 hours ago to our members. Feedback from an entire cross-section of society was far beyond encouraging, it was uplifting. Imagine how we felt when this response came from someone we don’t even know – referred to us by one of our members and writing on behalf of their vulnerable mother:

“My Mum is 72 and a widow. She lives down a track on a farm and she is very isolated. She used to buy oil, but hasn’t been able to afford it for over two years. She keeps warm by heating two rooms with an electric fire and then picks up wood for the fire from the farm. I live 100 miles away and feel like I let her down as I don’t have the money to either get there very often or pay for her heating. Is it possible for me to do this for her? If so please can I book 1000 litres in total, with 500 litres now. I can afford the initial payment and if possible would like to spread the remainder over 12 months. I think this is the most B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T. scheme ever.”

This week we will reveal the full story and exactly what “The CBL Fixed Budget Deal” is, who has played a remarkable role in helping us to develop it, how it works and how it is going to change the lives of many OIL buying householders across the UK. 

You might think it so simple you can’t believe it took this long – we do! One thing for sure Mr Churchill would have approved: “Out of great complexities, great simplicities emerge“.

Join us, help us, tweet us, like us and forward us into the inbox of everyone you know that needs to know this, thank you. You know where I am: chris@community-buying.com 

Day Eleven: Dear David…Mr Putin is a heating OIL user’s new best friend

Heating OIL users have it tougher than any other type of energy user in the UK. It is not a suggestion, it is a fact. On every level they have it tougher, but most of all it is the exposure to the whim of world leaders that is most difficult to deal with. The most volatile energy market is impacted on an hourly basis and heating OIL users are almost entirely oblivious to how what they pay one day is linked to the events of the world from the day before.

I decided to take a break from my “Dear David” for four days because I have been watching the world literally change before my eyes. It has been incredible hasn’t it? Mr Putin’s proposal for Syria has changed our world. Ironic that the man that has won a Nobel Peace Prize didn’t think about exhausting all avenues of diplomacy before wanting to send the bombs, but let’s push that aside. The impact of this turn of events is a massive fall back in the price of crude OIL. But it is simply rectifying the “premium” that has gone on through nothing but speculation over the last two weeks. That goes on every day. Having fallen back over the last two days, the latest commentary is still trying to fuel a situation that will see prices go back up: “Analysts have warned that oil prices could spike if violence in Syria spills over into the region’s main oil producing countries”.

The key words are “could” and “if”. A heating OIL user running low and needing to fill up over the last two weeks you would have paid £50-100 more than those filling this week…on an “if” and a “could”. This is both preposterous and obscene. Heating OIL users generally have zero idea of this complexity, which is why OIL Fuel Poverty is so very difficult to deal with and has been literally forgotten. Until now that is…take a look at exactly what we are doing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhxOsIvu7UU&feature=youtu.be

This week Mr Putin has done more to protect our vulnerable heating OIL users than any other politician on the planet – including all those whose direct responsibility it is to do something. Admittedly, he had no idea he was doing so and it may be only for a week or two, but it you are filling up for the winter that is all you need. Oh the irony, this week Mr Putin has made life a little easier for many very vulnerable UK energy users, I am thinking of dropping him a thank you note.