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In a shock development - Select Committee lands punch on banker

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Paul Mason | 12:31 UK time, Tuesday, 11 January 2011

I've sat through a lot of Treasury Select Committees and usually they are dire, because the MPs - in the old parliament at least - always broke the first rule of interrogation: know more than your victim. They always seemed to know less and were outfoxed by the suave men in cufflinks.

But today the new TSC, chaired by Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, broke this pattern. Questioning Barclays plc's new boss, Bob Diamond, they raised four points which deserve further investigation.

1) Does the Barclays boss feel grateful to the British taxpayer for the bailout of the whole system which has, according to the Bank of England, boosted profits in the sector, thus indirectly contributing to the success that Barclays will celebrate next month with its bonus pool? Mr Diamond could not bring himself to say that he was grateful to the taxpayer - only to "central banks around the world". This, translated, means he was not prepared to recognise the role of the taxpayer bailout in indirectly benefiting the bank, only the liquidity support provided by the Fed and the BoE.

2) How much tax does Barclays pay, and how many subsidiaries has it set up in offshore tax havens? Mr Diamond did not know at all the answer to the latter half of the question and had to be told by rising-star Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who resisted great flourish while delivering the accusation that Barclays was engaged in "tax avoidance on a grand scale". The answer is, as Mr Umunna then read out: 38 subsidiaries in Jersey, 30 in the Isle of Man, 181 in the Cayman Islands.

As to the first bit, Mr Diamond answered that Barclays had paid £2bn in tax last year, but could not tell the committee how much of that was "payroll tax" - ie paid on behalf and in relation to its workforce, and how much was paid by Barclays as a corporate entity. Given Vodafone and Topshop have been besieged by protesters who have surmised these firms pay too little tax, you can bet BARC will go on the hit list unless he now comes up, as promised, with a written breakdown.

3) How many times had David Cameron or George Osborne looked Diamond in the eye and asked him to moderate his bonus? Never was the clear answer. Now you only have to meet a senior banker for them to drop into the conversation that they have met the Chancellor or that other bloke (Vince Cable) only the other day, so it's not like there's been a diary issue.

4) Will Barclays' bonus pool be bigger than the amount it pays out to shareholders? Though he could not answer there was a feeling in the room of "Is the Pope a Catholic".

I left before the end but while Mr Diamond's performance was assured, if a little startled at times, he may have left Barclays more in the glare of public scrutiny on the tax and bonus pool issues - and slightly dropped the Conservative leadership in the mire. Of course the same question could be asked of Messrs Clegg and Cable: have they ever asked Bob Diamond to moderate his own bonus? If the answer turns out to be also no, the mire gets deeper.

For one thing can be said about Labour, despite the deathbed nature of its conversion to effective bank regulation: Gordon Brown knew how to put pressure on people in banking in a highly personalised way.

Anyway - though the lobby hacks queuing as if for a Dickensian execution looked a little bored by the end - what we have certainly seen is a revival of effective scrutiny on the TSC - some of the MPs even wore cufflinks themselves!

There's more to come - and more on Newsnight tonight. Tune in and hit the comments meanwhile.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    ".....despite the deathbed nature of its conversion to effective bank regulation"

    Are you taking the mickey, Mason?? Labour, effective bank regulation? Mutually exclusive!

    Just another left-leaning, BBC-bash-the-tories-story. Why dont you lot just stick to reporting the damn facts instead of sticking your own left wing spin on everything?

  • Comment number 2.

    As the rest of the country picks up the bill, in cuts and unemployment, from the 2008 crash and the bank bailouts, I see bankers bonuses generating a lot more public anger. I fear it will justify more of the angry and violent scenes we saw at the student protests.
    I cannot believe Clegg isnt making this a deal breaker for the Coalition, because it simply highlights the gulf between the rhetoric of himself and Vince Cable, and the approach actually taken by the government.

  • Comment number 3.

    The aptly named Mr Diamond also said that he thought a failing bank should never be bailed out by tax-payers. He can be added to the list of Andrew Mellon revivalists.
    Here is Brad Delong blog 'The Four Horsemen of the Teapocalypse':
    "Agreeing with Schumpeter was Herbert Hoover's Treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon. In his memoirs Hoover was bitter toward many, but bitterest of all toward Mellon, whom he called the head of the "leave it alone liquidationists." Hoover quotes Mellon: "It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people." Hoover opposed Mellon's policies, he said, and worked to undermine them. But what could he do? He was, after all, only the president. And Mellon was Treasury secretary.
    Think Mellon is just an anachronism? Then consider current British chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and his claim that today's record-low interest rates in Britain are a sign of financial strength and not of anticipated prolonged depression: "The emergency budget in June was the moment when fiscal credibility was restored. Our market interest rates fell to near-record lows." That is pure Mellon. It is definitely not Keynes. It is definitely not even Milton Friedman.

  • Comment number 4.

    Before becoming an MP, Andrew Tyrie worked as an advisor to Chancellors of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson & John Major; he was Senior Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development. Between 2003 and 2005, Andrew held the positions of Shadow Financial Secretary and Shadow Paymaster General. As a member of the Treasury Select Committee he is leading the way in the cross-examining the bank bonuses so that taxpayers’ money is protected.
    Personally, I think he is a bit over-his-head, but not uninformed.
    If I had to guess, I would say that even with all his experience, Andrew Tyrie would be out-knowledged by the likes of Barclay's Diamond.
    Andrew raised interesting points, but he did not pierce the Barclay shield.
    1) Mr Diamond could not bring himself to say that he was grateful to the taxpayer; this means he was not prepared to recognise the role of the taxpayers' bailout. To which Andrew Tyrie should have responded, "Then, sir, it is evident that the taxpayer did not assist Barclays in any meaningful way; therefore, are you prepared to reimburse the taxpayers for their meaningless contribution?"
    2) The rising-star Labour MP Chuka Umunna delivered the accusation that Barclays was engaged in "tax avoidance on a grand scale". Mr Umunna then read out: 38 subsidiaries in Jersey, 30 in the Isle of Man, 181 in the Cayman Islands. Excellent!
    Barclays paid £2bn in tax last year, but could not tell the committee how much of that was "payroll tax" (Ya right!). How much tax was paid by the "corporate entity"?
    Diamond has agreed to provide a written breakdown. Nicely handled. Good job, Mr. Umunna!
    3) As for David Cameron or George Osborne looking Diamond, or any other CEO Investment Banker in the eye and asking piercing financial questions, I don't think they can because they don't know enough about the internal workings of investment banks too big to fail, and what's more the investment banks too big to fail KNOW that Cameron and Osborne do NOT KNOW. Now that's an awkward position for the financial leaders of the UK.
    4) Will Barclays' bonus pool be bigger than the amount it pays out to shareholders? Andrew Tyrie should have asked for statements on both.
    Why? Because shareholders would be shocked out of their comfortable financial socks!
    I don't feel that Andrew Tyrie was left in the mire; I think he swam rather well, but could have done better.
    If and until the big political leaders either hire or get to know the inner workings of investment banks too big to fail, they will continuousaly come at these bankers weak-kneed and lily-livered, like students afraid of the master.
    I agree that Gordon Brown knew how to put pressure on people in banking in a highly personalised way.
    Why?
    Because the man knows finance. Remember, he suggested - oh so long ago - the EU Tax on all foreign transactions because he knew this particular tax would affect the investment banks (provide an audit trail for their nefarious activity as well as enrich the Government in billions) while barely touching community banks that engage very little in foreign transactions.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hooray....at last perhaps we will start to get some proper scrutiny by people who have done some homework and can ask relevant questions. It doesn't matter a jot which party they come from just that they have the skills and intelligence to do the job required.

  • Comment number 6.

    The pantomime season is in full swing!

  • Comment number 7.

    How about asking some even tougher questions of Mr Diamond. Page 7 of this paper lays out the accusation of scope for widespread fraud in modern banking:

    http://forensicstatistician.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/when-is-a-fraud-not-a-fraud/

    Excerpt:

    As Haldane notes, Government support for the banking sector is one side of the social contract, the other is the responsibility for the Government to regulate. Somewhat disconcertingly, current trends appear to indicate ever increasing financial support, yet declining regulatory supervision of banks. The convergence of these two outcomes appears rife to encourage the climate for “bankruptcy for profit” (also known as looting) strategies:

    "Bankruptcy for profit will occur if poor accounting, lax regulation, or low penalties for abuse give owners an incentive to pay themselves more than their firms are worth and then default on their debt obligations. Bankruptcy for profit occurs most commonly when a government guarantees a firm's debt obligations." (Akerlof & Romer 1993)

    The assumption is that owners / managers employ a deliberate strategy of going broke (intentional looting) rather than subsidised risk taking / speculation. The reason for this occurring is that various conditions conspire to make this strategy yield a positive pay-off to the potential looter. The three key symptoms of looting are:
    - Excessive pay
    - Over inflated firm valuation
    - Invoking Gvt Guarantees

  • Comment number 8.

    Off on a tangent, but this is an excellent article on the euro crisis and how EZ/EU can muddle through. http://www.roubini.com/piie-monitor/260293/how_europe_can_muddle_through_its_crisis

    But it only deals with the debt, not the deficits.

    When will we start to see how (in)effective the austerity measures are in Greece, Ireland, Portugal etc - and if the results are unsatisfactory the wheel beginning another revolution?

  • Comment number 9.

    barclays got their big free wad of cash from the Fed and from the bargain lehmans sale.

    in a free market if someone makes a mistake then they are stupid and lose money. The political class believed in the hayekist 'the market has the best knowledge' and that 'self interest is the only regulator'. Now the political class lose [our] money over that 'bet' and the bankers benefit.

    the financial world is always going to outwit the duffers more interested in the innovative fiddling of expenses ?

    In theory the media should be doing a 'select committee' on politicians testing out the reasons for the philosophy they hold. I haven't seen that yet. never even heard the word hayekist on NN yet. Because lets face it most yaparrazzi want headlines not examination of philosophy?

    we are not in this together. never were. never will be. the 4 billion a year subsidy to millionaire landowners merrily goes on with no mention of a land tax.

  • Comment number 10.

    hope springs eternal as that nice lady Miriam from Countryfile has won her action against the BBC and the BBC in true decency has offered her her job back....bravo Beeb and welcome back Miriam, I would suggest the News on News 24 as they do have to put in long shifts on that prog, maybe give John Craven a stint on it as well oh, no that would never do as he still has his job on Countryfile...him being a man and all...ouch!

  • Comment number 11.

  • Comment number 12.

    The question I would like asked, and I wish journalists would ask bank bosses each and every time the debate on bonuses for banksters arises, is this:

    If the banks had been based in certain Middle Eastern or Asian countries during the banking crisis, and they had brought those economies to their knees in the same way that they have done to the UK and Western democracies, what do the banks bosses think the response would have been from the peoples of those countries let alone those countries' mostly non-democractic leaders?

    OK, it is a bit long-winded but you get my point.

    The blunt reality is that, at best, many of the banksters would now be serving very long sentences in very grotty prison conditions. At worst, well, we all know what the worst case scenario would be.

    Andrew Neil touched briefly upon this today on 'The Daily Politics' but I wish more journalists would pursue this every time the banksters try to call our bluff.

    It is about time that our leaders learned to play poker - hard-ball style.

  • Comment number 13.

    It has been a long and persistent campaign against bankers by the BBC. Certainly many people blame our economic woes on bankers so I guess the persistence has paid off.

    At least Gordon Brown has come out of this with some praise.

  • Comment number 14.

    12

    yes its still not a crime to bring the uk to its knees for a generation or longer.

    the chinese see soros and his like as terrorists because they bet from offshore havens against countries which destroys jobs,lives and factories as surely as any wave of bombers would do.

    there is an inner empire in the uk who know each other, inter marry go to the same schools and clubs. Then there is the rest of us. Politics involves transferring the wealth of the many to the few through innovative means often quite plausible e.g land owners subsidy, carbon tax, privatisation etc

  • Comment number 15.

    13

    the long and persistent campaign has been against the british people.

    gordon brown was chief architect of preventing the FSA from regulating.

    why did australia avoid the crash?

  • Comment number 16.

    For banks that require no support from the taxpayer there is little to be said other than what controls the market for these 'extra - terrestrial beings' that have such a rare skill and for which there is no possibility of skill transference? There must be many graduates who would fall over themselves to do the job at one tenth the bonus that some of these people receive. Is there no scope for skill transference to a larger number of bank staff to bring down the cost? In addition for those banks that are dependent on taxpayer support the government has a duty to ensure there is a proper balance between the stability of the banks, the interests of shareholders (including itself) and any validated risks of controlling bonuses to a more reasonable level. What I did not hear is Mr Diamond talking in terms of his fiduciary duty in the context of weakened financial position of the banks by paying stupendous remuneration and doing nothing to manage a way out. One service the outrageous bonus issue could render is to fuel the debate on the excess remuneration of management in both the private sector and the more modest public sector. Let's bring back retro taxation levels expressed in the old Beatles line "nineteen for me and one for you"

  • Comment number 17.

    Make it unlawful for "our" politicians to represent or work for anyone but us....including the media.

    Future generations will ask why we put up with this corruption for so long.

    The powerful are just having a laugh...and it would help if they didn`t own the media and have the BBC scared to death that a public inquiry is opened to find out where all its money goes!

    I think "our" parliamentarians got an easy ride because the mandarins at the Beeb would never survive the sort of scrutiny Private Eye directs at our other main institutions.

  • Comment number 18.

    # 12

    I believe I heard Andrew Neil make that very point to Digby Jones on the Daily Politics earlier, after he'd been wittering about tax take from the banks.

  • Comment number 19.

    Interesting comment on where we might be going in 2011.


    '(Richard) Russell, who served in WWII as a foot soldier in the European theater, sees trouble brewing in almost any parts of the world, and is also concerned that the U.S. debt load is no longer serviceable.

    “This year might even be a black swan year,” Russell writes. “Certain events are now in place, events that have never been seen before in human history … we are dealing with debts so monstrous, so huge, that most people can’t fathom them..."

    ...“There is a huge disparity between the wealthy and the poor. The poor greatly outnumber the wealthy. This has all the ingredients for revolutions in the age of instant and world-wide communication.”

    The makings of a “black swan” event are in place for 2011, he concludes.'

    http://www.beaconequity.com/predictions-2011-jim-rogers-marc-faber-and-richard-russell-agree-2011-01-11/

  • Comment number 20.

    Bonus = red herring, great for bankers and generating column inches but the real issue is banking reform, or rather lack of reform.

    This made me laugh:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/notes-to-commenters/?src=twt&twt=NytimesKrugman

  • Comment number 21.

    It's worth noting that Diamond is Mr Lucky as he was a couple of weeks away from taking over the poison that was ABN-Amro before being marginally outbid by RBS.

    Another question that might have been asked. As bankers did not get bonuses anything like those they are getting now 10 years ago, so why are they worth so much more now?

  • Comment number 22.

    The bank bonus debate is now suffering from the tentative agenda set in 2009, in the crisis aftermath. The G20 set up the Financial Stability Forum who came up with sound principles of bank compensation. These were formulated from the perspective of excessive risk-taking - they were not designed ( and said so) to prescribe levels or designs of individual compensation. Sighs of relief all round at the time from within banking!The Bank for International Settlements seem to just be following this and politicians are leaving it entirely to the high priesthood...joke.

  • Comment number 23.

    The Bank of England is looking more like a joke Toy-town bank than any financial organisation with real cred.

    It has lost the power to dictate the economy by using interest rates - the monthly BOE meetings are now utterly pointless save for a nice cup of tea and a posh biscuit for those attending. The only way the BOE can influence economic policy in this country is by QE but it needs the OK of the Government to do that.

    So, perhaps the question we should be asking in this supposed age of austerity is - do we need the BOE?

    Surely we can save some cash and outsource it to a call-centre in Bombay?

  • Comment number 24.

    WHY IS IT CALLED COMPENSATION? (#22)

    Surely we compensate for LOSS? Only in some 'looking-glass' world could one compensate for doing well-paid work. Ah - I think I just defined banking.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 25.

    after watching the digby jones oh but the city generates 20% of tax income for the treasury, does anyone have a source for the answers to the above questions already posed

    how much tax do they actually pay to the treasury by way of corporation tax?
    with all the offshoring how much did they avoid

    the same question to all the banks

    im also aware that London city has some other scam going where they take a fee to allow the likes of french firms pay tax by slight of hand accounting

  • Comment number 26.

    FOLLOW THE MONEY (#25)

    Adversarial party politics need ever-increasing 'war-chests' to win elections (by buying persuasive lies and deceit). This money comes from those who have a) a lot, and b) gratitude.

    It is not hard to 'do the math'. The only way to escape is to

    SPOILPARTYGAMES.

  • Comment number 27.

    One lie that needs to be nailed is that the banks pay loads of taxes so they deserve to have big bonuses. Digby Jones said today on Radio Four's World at One that they pay a fifth of ALL taxes. It's rubbush.

    They may pay a fifth of all Corporation tax but that's only about a tenth of total revenue. Financials pay about about 2.5 per cent of all taxes.

    Here's my analysis using HMRC data ttp://goo.gl/kF5OW

  • Comment number 28.

    We were told child labour was "essential".

    Slavery was a "necessary evil".

    Giving women the vote would "destroy democracy."

    A minimum wage would lead to "mass unemployment".

    Workers "must be prohibited" from coming together to protect their interests against greedy employers or the economy "would collapse".

    We "can't afford" decent pensions, better healthcare or housing - but we could find tens or billions overnight to prop up the banks.

    Now we are told that we can't stop the abuse and greed of the banking industry because they would "damage the economy" if they left the UK because we stopped their gravytrain.

    Despite the rhetoric and the tutting, Vince Cable isn't going to do anything and his bedfellows Cameron and Osborne will do anything to protect their mates in the City because the Tory Party IS the Bankers' Party in all but name.

    But the British people know in their hearts when they see injustice and most of the time in the end something is done.

    Get packing those bags you banker boys - start looking for a new society to pollute with your filthy, moneygrabbing "greed is good" culture - the clock is ticking - we all know what is going to happen in the end - as the crisis deepens and there is another banking collapse here or somewhere else connected to the UK banks, the taxpayer will b e expected to bail you out again - and we're not going to stand for it a second time - sorry a THIRD time because you've been bailed out again already via the "loan" to Eire which then flows back here to bail out your gambling in Irish property.

    Your salad days here are numbered - get out while the going is good and lets start running UK PLC in the interests of its peple, not a tiny minority of international gamblers bankrolled by taxing ordinary working people and slashing their community services.

  • Comment number 29.

    Littlekeefer' point is an excellent one and MUST be used by Newsnight to corner Digby Jones, i.e.
    Digby Jones lied when he said today on Radio Four's World at One that UK Financials pay a fifth of ALL taxes. They pay a fifth of all Corporation tax but that's only about a tenth of total revenue. Financials pay about about 2.5 per cent of all taxes.
    It's also a great shame that the Committee didn't use Gastrogeorge's point that Bob Diamond isn't so clever and isn't worth his high price. He was only a couple of weeks away from taking over the poison that was ABN-Amro before being marginally outbid by RBS. Had that happened as he had dearly wished, he would have crashed out of sight by now.




  • Comment number 30.

    This is just a BBC tactic to divert our attention...especially from Newsnight. I demand to know how much Jeremy Paxman is being paid. The BBC is not ever going to reveal this information. Why not? So, it's ok for the BBC to waste £3.5 billion of direct public money and not tell the taxpayer. But the banks have to tell us everything about their bonuses? Let's have a fair-playing field.

  • Comment number 31.

    It seems deeply ironic that the commentary on Newsnight and your report criticising (over)payments from publicly subsidised institutions is from the BBC. Surely this report and reporter are funded by taxpayers by coercion and the institution its fair share of overpaid employees funded directly by taxation? I thought referring to Mr Diamond as a "wheeler dealer" at the start belies as much prejudice as the choice of public commentators. How many people does he employ in the private sector? Has no one mentioned that 64% of bonuses go in tax (50% income tax, 1% NI and 12.8% employer's NI).

  • Comment number 32.

    30 31

    It may has escaped your attention, but the BBC provides television, radio and web services to the public in return for the license fee and surveys of the public are positive about what they receive. Parliament scrutinises the BBC and the Governors do this in detail. World class BBC programming is sold around the world for top dollar - a massive export industry that is the envy of the world.

    The banks rip the public off, don't lend to business or would-be home owners, charge execessive interest and they expect all of us to bankroll their gambling around the world whilst they pay obscene bonuses to greedy parasites often paid out of speculating and exploiting vulnerable workers in the developing world, or developments that damage the environment.

    I suspect both of you have vested interests in banking bonuses, or is it just a coincidence you both posted similar attacks on the BBC within minutes of each other?

    If you have, get packing boys - the game's up - the great British public have got it in for you - it's just a question of time...

    ...oh, and hands off our BBC.

  • Comment number 33.

    I have no connection with the BBC but imagine that it`s a nest of conflict and political intrigue like any other organisation. Radio 4 now seems to be the only remaining place if you are not American or brain dead ....because there is still More or Less and In Business and Moral Maze and Excess Baggage and A Good Read etc.....but the telly is thin gruel and I am finding NN and This Week and QT barely watchable because they seem obsessed with avoiding sticky issues or rationalising their liberal views in that way Laurie Taylor wrestles sociology into something that only confirms his BBC/liberal views.

    Anyway...what does the serious/worthwhile stuff cost....a few million?
    Where does the rest of the money go?And wasn`t Channel 4 meant to be doing some challenging stuff rather than being another American broadcaster?

    Lastly...could a not for profit co-op broadcaster be set up...The Home Service? Radio Free Thinker?

  • Comment number 34.

    LAURIE TAYLOR SYNDROME WILL SAVE US JIM (#33)

    Laurie! Has the consummate skill of encapsulating ALL POSSIBLE ANSWERS within each questions he asks.* As 'the child increases in wisdom', more and more answers will present to his monstrous intellect, and the questions will take up more and more of the programme time. Ultimately, Laurie! will achieve a 'critical mass', and be taken up to heaven on a cloud of narcissism.

    *This is a skill also manifested by Quentin Cooper, graduate of the University of Playaway, and a Brian Cant Scholar of distinction.

  • Comment number 35.

    #27

    I doubt that the financial sector does indeed contribute 20% of tax. Here are some figures I located from the ONS a few months back:

    Manufacturing GDP: 17% Tax contribution: 59%
    Finance & business services GDP: 26% Tax contribution: 12%

    The far bigger question should be related to how good "value for money" the financial sector is. Manufacturing contributes a far higher amount to tax but does this without exposing the nation to ridiculus levels of debt. See:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2010/05/uk_emergency_budget_open_threa.html

  • Comment number 36.

    '32. At 11:17pm on 11 Jan 2011, richard bunning wrote:

    ...oh, and hands off our BBC.'


    In the entertaining world of pointless online affiliation accusations, might one enquire as to who is included in 'our'?

  • Comment number 37.

    #32 - I know you'd like a good conspiracy theory. But it is pure coincidence between me & #31. And, no, I have no vested interest in banking bonuses. In fact, I happen to be unemployed...not from the banking industry.

    You clearly have no idea of the value of money if you think that the BBC needs £3.5 billion a year to run. Yet you make so much noise when the govt. tries to cut the deficit. So, why were the BBC so quick to agree to a TV tax (licence fee) freeze when the Coalition came in? The fact is that the BBC has to spend all the £3.5 billion each year because if it didn't, we'd all be asking, justifiably, for a TV tax cut. So, the BBC pre-empts this by budgeting more than £3.5 billion each year. And then showing that it saved money by not exceeding its budget. It is what all govt. departments do. So. it's not a surprise.
    The D-G needs to be paid £800k? So, he's doing a job 5 times more difficult than the PM? Do you think the D-G is going to have a problem affording university tuition fees for his kids? Everybody got riled up at Fred Goodwin's pension. Will you make more noise when you find out the BBC D-G's "diamond-encrusted" pension? Thought not. And this is with public money.

    If your beloved BBC is so great, then why won't they tell us what Paxman is being paid? The idiotic reason/excuse being given is that if they reveal such information, then other broadcasters could lure them. Really? I challenge the BBC to release the salary information of the entire Newsnight team of presenters & see who will be a) picked up by other broadcasters b) and will be paid more than what they are paid by the BBC. Paxman going to Sky or ITV or Channel 4 is NEVER going to happen. That's why he can come out with statements such as "I am an endangered species at the BBC" & not have any disciplinary action taken against him, let alone be sacked.

    The 1 thing that I applaud Bob Diamond for saying is that the banks should have been allowed to "fail". The truth is that because of the BoE' role as "lender of last resort", the banks will never fail. Banks are not like normal companies that sell goods & services. The goods & services sold by banks are money. How can they run out of money? They became "illiquid" but not insolvent & there is a huge difference between the 2.

  • Comment number 38.

    Jeremy is priceless....but where is he???

  • Comment number 39.

    If Bob Diamond is unaware of how many offshore tax havens Barclays own, his Investment Bankers may not know of our own UK home-grown tax shelter...EIS.

    Enterprise Investment Schemes attract up-front tax relief @ 20%. I've suggested to Ministers that such benefits be linked to Graduate job creation.

    If an EIS supported business employs someone at a salary of £25,000, the Treasury gets back more in tax & NI than it gives in relief.

    Add in Student Loan re-payments and the Government begins to benefit from it's generous tax relief to Enterprise Investment Scheme investors.

    Perhaps its time for the sheltered waters of Eis to be a haven for the many yachts about to be purchased by Bankers.

    They might even be crewed for free by Graduates who gained employment by recycling EIS tax relief.

  • Comment number 40.

    I recently spoke to a senior banker at a part-nationalised bank. He has had a visit from Whitehall and was asked to be more generous with his lending. He smiled but made no promises. He thought the civil servant was from planet bonkers.

    So I imagine Osborne's knows a deal on lending targets is a not a runner and will set any targets at a meaninglessly low level.

 

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