Wednesday, 2 January 2008

*Northern Rock.

From the OUCH disability blog.

Here on Ouch, we sometimes have a little saying: "disability is in everything". It allows us to take that sideways look at the subject that has become so characteristic of your favourite disability website. But even we didn't imagine that it would somehow feature in the ongoing news story of the troubled Northern Rock bank and, in turn, the global credit criss that has been hitting the headlines almost daily since September. However, it seems that we were wrong.

A story tucked away in the Business section of The Guardian today reveals that the offshore trust that owns three-quarters of Northern Rock's assets was originally set up to benefit charities - in particular, a small organisation for children with Down's Syndrome. So small, in fact, that it's run from a semi-detached house on the outskirts of Newcastle. Curiouser and curiouser.

Yet Down's Syndrome North East - or DSNE - remained completely in the dark about their role in all this. Whilst the volunteer-run charity was getting by on small donations, little did it know that it was supposed to be one of the beneficiaries of a trust whose turnover ran into billions (yes, I said billions) of pounds.

Since this story came to light, Northern Rock has promised that the charity will receive a donation in the future - but nothing has been forthcoming yet due to further complexities in the situation.

If, like me, you're not particularly up to speed in your knowledge of the intricacies of financial institutions and markets, this can appear to be a rather bewildering report, but it's definitely one worth reading. And it certainly goes to prove, once again, the old Ouch belief that disability really is in everything.

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