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Labour bets on bashing bankers

Robert Peston | 09:47 UK time, Monday, 28 September 2009

The chancellor and the prime minister are certainly not lowering the temperature of their attack on banks' bonuses.

Alistair Darling and Gordon BrownWhich, I suppose, is significant - even if there's nothing new of substance that they've announced in the past 24 hours or are likely to do in the next 24 hours (see my note of yesterday).

Let's be clear: British banks have already changed their bonus practices fairly significantly over the course of this year, largely due to pressure from regulator, ministers and public opinion.

In particular, for senior bankers, cash bonuses paid at the end of the year and available immediately to snap up the bright yellow Lambo, well they're a beautiful memory.

These days so-called variable compensation typically cannot be pocketed in the year that it is earned. Distribution of readies is deferred and subject to so-called claw-back, linked to the future profitability of relevant deals and the bank as a whole.

But don't cry for the bankers. They can still earn in a year more than many earn in a lifetime, even if they have to hang around for a bit to bank it.

Which remains something of a sore point for millions of taxpayers, who are more-or-less aware that almost no bank would be standing today if it weren't for the £1.3 trillion of support given to them by the state in the form of special loans, investment, guarantees and the creation of new money.

And the bits of their banks that are doing so well this year, the investment banking bits, are profiting from the frantic scramble by governments and companies to mend their finances - which in a way is to say that they are making hay from the resolution of an economic and financial crisis after having made a very special contribution to the creation of that crisis.

If this is an example of modern distributive justice, some would say that Genghis Khan was a caring, sharing leader.

So who can be surprised that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling want to tap into a national sense of outrage by creating the impression that the banks haven't yet gone far enough in reining in pay?

But what more do they actually want from the City?

Presumably what they would like is to see a serious reduction in the amount bankers are actually paid in this first year after the debacle of last autumn.

So the question, I suppose, is how responsive the banks will be to what's known as moral suasion - or pressure from the chancellor for them to voluntarily slash bonus payments this year.

Alistair Darling will have more of a sense of this later this week, when he's meeting the chairmen of the banks' remuneration committees.

Here's a funny thing. At least one of your biggest banks is actually quite relieved by the bonus-bashing: Royal Bank of Scotland.

It and Lloyds - as the banks most conspicuously rescued by taxpayers - are more constrained then most in their ability to pay bonuses.

And the constraints on them will become more severe, because they are perceived by the regulator, the Financial Services Authority, to be short of capital (the buffer against potential losses).

Which is why they are being forced to insure their loans against future losses with taxpayers through the Government Asset Protection Scheme (GAPS) and/or raise additional capital from investors.

They are therefore most in the firing line to have a limit placed on the respective pools of money they can set aside for deployment in the form of bonuses, according to the stipulation made on Friday night by G20 leaders Pittsburgh (again, for more detail on this, see yesterday's note).

This is more of a worry for Royal Bank than for Lloyds, because it is bigger in the bonus-paying businesses of investment banking.

So if only the chancellor can shame Barclays and the other big banks not to use the lure of fabulous bonuses as a recruitment tool, Royal Bank will find it so much easier to attract and retain all those invaluable traders and financial engineers (which, I suppose, warms the cockles of all us, as de facto owners of this bank).

In a curious way, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown are doing a favour for the bank owned by taxpayers, Royal Bank of Scotland, by endeavouring to kill the bonus culture everywhere.


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  • Comment number 1.

    It's all just so much spin!

    Labour had a chance to head the Greedy Bankers off at the pass, when they handed over all OUR money to them.
    The money was supposed to be used for mortgages and small business loans, but because Labour "gave it away without any strings attached", the bankers used it instead to recommence their greedy life styles and started paying themselves massive bonuses again.

    Just ask anyone who's tried to get a mortgage recently, just how easy it is? . . . NOT!

    If Labour think this is going to save them from electoral wipe-out, then they are even more deluded than we thought.

    The best thing Labour can do for this country is call an immediate General Election and let the people decide who they want to fix the mess that we are in.

    And let's face it . . . it WON'T be Labour, will it.

  • Comment number 2.

    labour bets on bashing bankers is all well and good but look at their overall rhetoric all they seem to do is attack to opposition, the bankers, military etc etc they never have the answer though.
    any monkey in a suit can look good whilst attacking things that have failed or are in need but ask it to do the job of correcting the problems and it will throw its bananas out.
    the good people of this country deserves a government that will work for the good of the country first and foremost, not for the good of its party members itself then maybe the country.

  • Comment number 3.

    I am so sorry for all of these banks and the staff. Now they all seem to be lending to each other, or putting the money under the mattress against the next rainy day they are creating.
    Do we, the public, get any return out of all of this?

  • Comment number 4.

    From what Brown et. al. have said at their conference it is just announcing things that have already been announced, wrapped-up in "tough sounding words" but really no change and not particularly tough (e.g. no as tough as the Dutch) and still following Brown's "light touch" system.

    All party conferences are about Spin and PR and Brown is desperate so will say anything to try and head of complaints from his party. Does not matter what impact it might have on anybody, if it allow him to stay in power for an extra 10 mins then he will say and do it.

  • Comment number 5.

    Lord Mandy stated on Today that we should be re-strutring the UK so we were not so dependant on the City of london!

    We be causing a Mass Exidos NuLabour will succeed!

    HSBC has anounded they are leaving, a wonder which of the bing banks will have their head offices and trading floors here in 5 years time?

    Just remember that 40% of bonuses goes straight to the Tax Man and the City pays 20-30% of ALL tax in the UK, If they leave who is going to pay off the national debt?

  • Comment number 6.

    Don't believe anything that they say re the bankers!

    It would appear that Gordon and his henchmen can dish the smears out (re Sir Gen. Dannatt)...but they certainly can't take them.

    Lord Mandelson criticises BBC for questioning Gordon Browns health

    Are there no depths that these shysters will not sink to?


  • Comment number 7.

    Labour were always going to turn this into a class war, their sole chance of any kind of survival post the next election is to portray the tories as laughing at the poor poeple losing their jobs and homes while the greedy bankers continue to reap the rewards of their almost criminal behaviour. And if you hol d that view then go and vote GB on whatever date he has worked out is the absolute latest he can go to the polls. But the truth is, and people are waking up to this, is that when New Labour came to power in 1997 Tony Blair recognised that the tories had got the public finances of this country back on track after the disasater of the Labour governements of the 70's and yes we needed to spend a bit of money here and there to bring some things back up to scratch so people thought OK, have a go for a bit, you seem like a decent sort of chap. But since TB left an GB took the helm, the true Labour Party has come back into the accendency and low and behold, two years in and the country is on its knees. Now you can "blame" the USA and the sub prime mortgage market, but the truth lies much deeper than that. Look to the stealth taxes GB implemented whilst at the treasury, the robbery from the pension funds for example. Well if you are going to tax the growth of pensions at a time when returns are 5 - 6% pa then that shortfall has to come from somewhere and that somewhere was deregulation the deregulatin that allowed derivative trading to become the norm. I could go on for hours and I porbably will - as Paul Weller once said, but the old adage that Labour bankrupts Britain is as true today as it has ever been, so keep peddling your politics of jealousy Labour, because everytime you open your mouths the tories get another vote. Oh and one more thought, next time Labour introduce another ill thought out law, a pertinent question would be, does this law apply equally to Labour Ministers as it does to the rest of the population, Neil Hamilton, owes this country a huge debt for the election of Labour in 1997, luckily Baroness Scotland is reversing the situation.

  • Comment number 8.

    Isn't there a way to tie bankers' bonuses (and even their pay) to socially useful investment? Sort of like forcing them to do the job properly rather than stuffing their pockets any old way.

    Or link them inversely to national debt? The more debt rises, the smaller the bonus.

    And if they leave in droves - wouldn't that be good news for unemployment? Couldn't we then get new graduates in linked to good practice?

  • Comment number 9.

    #5 icewombat wrote:
    "Just remember that 40% of bonuses goes straight to the Tax Man"

    Just remember that 100% of the money any bank has belongs to the customers. Billions in bonuses are paid for my 'eye watering' high levels of interest on small business loans etc. Whilst the depositors get a fraction of a % in interest.

    The mass exodus has already started (they put their bonuses in off shore accounts years ago to avoid tax) and the are just fleecing us for the final amounts before they disappear to ponzi island all inclusive resort)

  • Comment number 10.

    What about those of us who work for banks, but have no say into any financial decisions as we're too busy trying to keep the technical infrastructure working and adding in changes to systems based on regulations?

    It seems to be a case that if you work for a bank, YOU are responsible for the fall of Western civilisation, but all I want at the end of the year is a recognition of all the hard work I put into this place.

    Don't tar us all with the same brush.

  • Comment number 11.

    Does anyone still believe that big pay attracts big talent? All the evidence shows that big pay attracts only the greedy and the unscrupulous. Big bait attracts big sharks.

  • Comment number 12.

    We will have to spend the next few days admiring the smoke screens.

    Sure, bankers pay is an issue but it has been a critical issue for almost the last year and nothing yet has been done.

    How about the regulators pay? They didn't exactly cover themselves with glory either but they seem to have expectations based on the back of the bankers compensation.

    We will hear all this nonsense about bankers pay, Tory cuts and unemployment but who has been in charge these last twelve years? Who is complicit in causing the banking collapse? Who overspent even in the good times? Who did not support the real value-added element in the UK economy? Who was prepared to allow the value-added element in the UK economy to suffer a death of a thousand cuts so that their banker friends could be allowed to let rip?

    Sorry Labour: it is all your fault. You deal with it and stop blaming everyone else under the sun. We have had enough of your dissimulations and lack of candour. You are just a bunch of incompetents who have sold the country down the sewer.

    The cuts in the public sector which are coming are entirely the fault of Labour and, you know, in a situation where young women are now not allowed to make their own childcare arrangements without the prospect of being criminalised I hope the entire public sector gets shredded to ribbons as it has quiet obviously gone mad.

  • Comment number 13.

    Darling ‘asks’ bankers to ‘Gonny no dae that!’

    More spin and drivel from the useless clowns (Both of them) at the helm of HMS Titanic, they will get wiped out next May. The Tories?

    I suspect they will be even worse! Their policies will lead us back to desperate times, people voting for this lot should be afraid, very afraid!

    I hear New Zealand & Australia are always on the look out for good engineers, lucky me.

  • Comment number 14.

    #10 Myopicaardvark

    Either: you are lower down the management chain in which case no one holds you responsible for the irresponsible decisions of your directors

    Or: you are more senior in which case you seem to have no understanding of the fact that those of us not in banking have no opportunity for large bonuses.

    This is not petty jealousy or sour grapes - it is reality. We are rewarded for our efforts by our salary and resent the huge bonuses given to people for doing their job (badly in some cases).

    The general public holds senior bankers in little more than contempt for their unwise investment decisions and irresponsible behaviour. The signs are that they regard the surrent situation as nothing more than 'a little local difficulty' and are getting ready for a return to huge bonuses before too long.

    If it were not for the fact that ordinary people would suffer most, I would be all for letting a couple of banks fail.

  • Comment number 15.

    The point is that banks are now dealing houses and market traders. This is the nub. If we look at banking as taking deposits and lending that money to business first and consumers second, there are no big bonuses. If we look at raising capital for corporations it is mostly fees. Where the trouble starts is when the banks become traders. That broke the system and this arm simply has to be removed from the banking function. They can pay themselves what they like but if they get into trouble they must go bust.
    Meanwhile unless we separate this toxic component with its assets and liquidate it, whilst nationalising the retail banking system, we must insist that bank incomes are controlled until every single penny of taxpayers cash has been repaid world wide and that the recession, measured in eight consecutive quarters of growth, is over.
    We have to get very tough with these people who think they have got away with it, because the real pain of the recession in terms of fewer services and higher taxes which is yet to be felt in the wider economy and which will cause much suffering to the ordinary people, will result in endless strikes and chaos if the poor are seen to bail out the rich.
    As for this rubbish that if we do not pay them they will all run abroad to the U.S, let them. They will end up busting the system again and next time angry Americans will put them in gaol.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    if Labour are indeed "betting" on bashing bankers, I would like to chip in a fiver of my own ... because it's a damn good bet

  • Comment number 18.

    I wonder what effect on tax revenues these regulations will make?
    By stopping the bankers from taking large cash bonus' now and paying 50% tax on them in the current year I guess the treasury (and all of us) will suffer from the lower tax take.
    From a financial perspective, it would be in the UK's interest if banks paid bankers big bonuses in cash so that a) the tax man would get 50% instead of the 28% corporation tax and b) retailers, car dealerships, restaurants, bars etc. would benefit from the increased spending power of the bankers.
    This increasingly looks like a policy of "cutting your nose off to spite your face" by a government desperate to do anything that courts favour with the voting public.
    The government would better serve us all by focusing its attention on public sector largesse and making cuts now.

  • Comment number 19.

    This is such a massive distraction by the powers that be. Real questions of policy need deciding. but instead it is this pure populist nonsense. The bankers who caused the problems are nearly all out of work, except those at the bankof england and the treasury.

  • Comment number 20.

    From what I heard, bankers will probably earn no less, but will just get it in a different way. There's much anecdotal evidence of bankers having their basic pay doubled and their guaranteed bonuses slashed. The pay will be decided on the forecast for the next year and the performance from the last few years - sort of an 'advance bonus'.

    The government is too ponderous to be able to stop this - it's like trying to nail jelly to the wall, but they have to make a good show of doing it, if only to appeal to their core voters who have been sickened by the money grabbing that's been going on since day 1.

    I'd bet there is a lot of horse trading going on, Brown and his mob have been awfully cosy with the city for a good few years or so, and I reckon there may be some large skeletons in the closet yet to emerge.

  • Comment number 21.

    Good post RP!

    Only problem with just focussing on bonuses is that the banks will just increase basic pay - which also could be seen as a guaranteed bonus!

    I know someone who works at one of the aforementioned banks and this has already happened due to the political pressure to get bonuses down.

    Surely the FSA etc should be look at total pay of the bank including bonuses rather than just bonuses. Its only by stopping the crazy overall pay that banks can rebuild their capital cushion which they need.

    My idea is to tax all pay over £100k at 60%/80%? for all banks that rely on some form of government guarantee. Good luck to the bank that doesn't want any gov guarantees - such as its depositors protected by the government! (of course they need this guarantee to survive)

    When Woolworths went down that was it the workers were unemployed - no more bonuses for meeting those Pick'N'Mix weekly targets! The injustice is there for all to see except the bankers - they believe their own hype(and also can hold the country/economy as well as individual savers to ransom).

    P.S. - you need to be careful though when taxing/regulating banking pay that the bank doesn't just use consultants and split off sections of the company - which can then pay themselves whatever they like. I think this has already happened/happening at different sections of Barclays. Roger Jenkins who headed up their infamous "tax planning" section has now left - if Barclays (or other bank) pay his new company a fee the new co can pay as big bonuses as they like without any interference from the FSA etc. leading to more unseen off-balance sheet risks.

  • Comment number 22.

    It seems hard to justify bankers pay on the basis of the value of the work they do, but it might be possible to justify it, if they took commensuarate risks - indeed banks used to be and some still are run as partnerships.

    How about senior managers of banks providing an uninsurable indefinite guarantee of the bank's liabilities secured on their houses of 5 times their annual remuneration and subject only to an indemnity from their successors - this might focus minds on how much risk they wished to take on both personally and as a bank.

    If you are in the risk game, it must be sensible to align the personal risks for the managers with the risk profile of the organisation.

  • Comment number 23.

    #15, well said.

  • Comment number 24.

    It does seem that Lord Turner at the FSA is a bit more switched on than the government in that he is advocating reducing the profits from 'socially useless' banking activity rather than going on about bonus levels.

    Why are the investment banks making so much money?

    Is it from making one way bets based on inside information?

    Are they exploiting inefficiencies in markets and regulatory systems?

    Is there a lack of competition?

    Are oil and other commodity prices being artifially raised through speculation meaning that we all pay more for goods?

    Are companies paying over the odds for borrowing?

    Are pensioners paying too much in investment management fees for 'services' which on average fail to do better than tracking a market index?

    Like stamp duty on shares or property, I think a modest international tax on all exchange transactions, open and transparent settlements for derivatives, closure of tax havens and complex off balance sheet structures and limits on gearing will be far more effective than yet more 'bonus rules' that can be manipulated.

    Banks with then have to compete by offering an efficient service for the matching of investors and borrowers, rather than mortgaging the future for short term gain.

  • Comment number 25.

    The thought that we should pay the bankers bonuses so that we get the 40% tax and benefit from their spending power is nonsense.

    If we don't pay the bonus the money doesn't disappear. It will generate 28% corporation tax instead of 40% income tax.

    Some of the money could lead to higher dividends for shareholders (some taxable) which helps repair the damage done to our pensions. Some could increase the funds the banks have for lending to home owners (reducing the interest rates and giving more spending power to Joe Public) and small businesses (more taxes from small business and less insolvencies).

    A lot more good would come than giving it to the Bankers to spend in St Tropez/St Moritz or on a new BMW/Mercedes/Porsche or on Prada/Boss.....

  • Comment number 26.

    This may, or may not, be fine. If the bonuses are to vest only when the profits are "real", then those profits should not be "booked" until they are capable of vesting. This will ensure that the Chancellor is likewise limited.

  • Comment number 27.

    #17 sagamix


    Was it not 'betting', by our bankers, that got ALL of us into this mess!!!

    You surely are having a giraffe?

    BTW 'wot banker bashing'?...I would say that the consensus of opinion on this blogsite says...'we ain't seen any to date', just New Labour rhetoric (as usual).

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't usually get riled up about people that earn more than me because I'm doing pretty well. But in the last year I have seen the value om y savings drop by around a third compared to the currency of the country I'm currently in the slow process of emigrating to.

    This crisis has cost me dearly. The fact that a major part of the cause of this devaluation is the financial bailout irritates me terribly. And for the banks to go back to paying the people that did this the equivalent of decades of my earning potential, it's an insult.

    And tell us again, Gordon and Alistair, how this is a global phenomenon and how Britain is uniquely well placed to weather the storm and come out of it strong?

    The only good thing either of them could do for the country now is step down and call for a general election, but instead they cling to power until the last moment. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 29.

    The G20 / Bank for International Settlements have already issued Sound Principles for Compensation : see [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    So, its not a question of Labour bashing the banks but Labour implementing the recommendations of the G20 that Gordon has just signed up to.

    You talk alot about bonuses. These are paid from profits, presumably. Profits are often assessed on valuations. Shares in lieu of cash are valued relative to business value. Values can be inflated / deflated. Who is policing the valuers. If trades lead to losses, how will the 'bonuses' be clawed back? Where is the debate about clawing back bonuses made on the back of inflated trades leading up to the current disaster. If the banks are holding 500 billion sterling of untradeable securitised loans enthusiastically levered onto their balance sheets by the Lambo-slickers, how will the Lambo-slickers be made liable for those initial trades? Isnt this what we would expect the politicians to be dealing with? Or , is it rather that the wholesale failure of regulation by governments is leading to this ' we'd rather look forward, not back' attitude.

  • Comment number 30.

    How much is the state's (i.e our) stake in the banks worth at current share prices? How much did the state pay for these stakes? Will the tax-payer lose, break-even, or gain?

  • Comment number 31.

    I've just watched Alistair Darling giving his speach to the Labour Party Conference.
    A half empty hall; a half-hearted applause from the Labour party faithful; a lack-luster performance; and a rather bored response from his colleagues at the back.
    I can't help feeling some sympathy for Mr. Darling. I had the feeling at the end of the speach that he should have just sighed and said:
    "Oh...why do I bother....?"

  • Comment number 32.

    this government is incapable of letting a bandwagon pass by without jumping on it.... this should have been addressed when the banks were bailed out but GB/AD failed to grasp the they realise it will be popular with the self deluded fans at the party conference and with the public at large...This has been flagged so often, I bet all self respecting bankers have already made the necessary arrangements to avoid the inconvenience!

  • Comment number 33.

    Allow bonuses - but legislate to allow an acceptable multiple of earnings within a business whereby the highest paid director can only earn a set multiple of wage of the lowest paid member of staff.

    Lets' say a multiple of 20 times so as not to stifle achievement and ambition within the company. The lowliest member of staff may earn 15K, so the CEO can take home 300K. Anything more than that ceiling gets taxed at 100%.

    Want a pay rise or a bigger bonus? You'll have to raise the wages across the whole company.

    A quick stab at the current multiple of the RBS: 10Million for Chief Exec, lets say 15K for a teller gives a multiple of 666 times. Hardly equitable by any rational justification, and what an interesting number!

  • Comment number 34.

    Comment # 1 from SilentHunter2 is bang on.
    The Banks have been taking the mickey for 18 months, pocketing both taxpayer bail-outs and Bank of England QE while continuing to starve the economy of credit at a fair price. They are profiteering (a.k.a. fixing their balance sheets) and blaming us, the "irresponsible borrowers" (a.k.a. covering up their own incompetence). They didn't just declare toxic debts - they chucked all their debts at us and the government swallowed their sob story, with no due diligence and no ongoing oversight to stop fat bonuses.
    So it's not just the banks that are to blame - so is the innefective government. And for them to now try and strike a populist chord by attacking banks when it is Brown and Darling's incompetence that got us into this mess is breathtaking hypocrisy, even by the dark standards of a New Labour spin machine controlled by Peter Mandelson. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 35.

    The problem with politics is the real issues get forgotten in the headlines. Banking bonuses had only a small part to play in the melt down. It was over exposure to debt and the complete lack of control of the banks over the huge risks of debt not being paid or their assets ever significantly devaluing. All this is in the past and steps can be taken to address the balance over time.

    My concern is the lack of honesty of Gordon Brown on the public services. When times were good,all the extra money was thrown into the pot and spent, some of it should of been prudently saved for a rainy day. The naive assumption was growth would always be good and public services could always have real term growth.

    The bankers made errors, but equally Gordon Brown has been guilty in mis information to the general public on the true reality on our situation and spending to the hilt even after the full disclosure of the banking crisis was known, at least the banking system corrected their ways when the true extent of the problem was known.

    Even today 12 months after the disaster the government is spending money in the full knowledge that tax receipts for this year have collapsed and are unlikely to return to previous levels for at least 5 years. I don't believe the general public have twigged that we are probably 20 % less well off than 2 years ago and a massive restructure of our public services are required to balance the books. This restructure will not be a temporary blip, but a fundamental restructure that will last for years.

    The banks mistakes were driven by greed,but the destruction of our public finances was due to vanity, the vanity of career politicians who let ideology get in the way of common sense. I can understand the greed but the latter is beyond my comprehension.

  • Comment number 36.

    RP "some would say that Genghis Khan was a caring, sharing leader."

    Don't knock Genghis! He didn't leave his empire in the same mess as the once Great British...

    Does Brown remember how many times he said "No More Boom or Bust"?

    It should be tattooed on the credibility vacuum’s forehead.

    I feel heart sorry for the kids coming out of university. Job prospects are dire. And now if they can find a job, they will spend years having to pay off Brown's national debt as well as their student loans.

    All the taxes and debt Brown has collected in the last 12 years and what exactly has improved???

    I'd emigrate, but have you seen how bad the Euro rate is these days.....

  • Comment number 37.

    They could have actually limited it to just the partial state owned banks propped up by the tax payer such as Lloyds Group and RBS. In my opinion they have gone a step further so Barclays, HSBC etc. are all included. It is now a level playing field so give them some credit. It is now a question of how a fair bonus culture is judged and the banks themselves not encouraging short term risk policy for creditation. Next week, I am keen to know who the Conservatives are proposing on this as we have heard very little noise from them other than critism. Do they for example think the FSA should do more/or are not doing there job properly (which I find hard to beleive with the contrainsts put on them) or we shoud let the BOE make more decisions?

  • Comment number 38.

    Instead of all this hot air about paying bonus, I would like more information about these faceless bankers and why they expect to get bonuses this year.
    I just don't understand what they do to justify the large sums of money, what are their skills, why are they so unique & rare, why can't banks risk losing them, how many people are we talking about.
    For example - footballer and Grand prix drivers - I may not agree with the sums they are paid, but they have names and I can see their skills, their abilities I can understand why they have value, but these bankers are they the same people who were employed last year when the banks failed, if so why and if they are new people - what contracts have they been employed on and why

    Shouting about bonus is just a smoke screen to make the MP look good, nothing has changed in the City only a few of the faces and if you look closely enough the faces haven't really changed only moved aound a bit.

    But what makes me really angry is the fact that nothing about this will make the slighest bit of difference to my life or the lives of most people.

  • Comment number 39.

    RBS should be using their profits not to pay bonuses, but to buy themselves back from the Government. The same goes for the other banks which we bailed out. It means less money going to ordinary staff (which, across the sector, has become the norm) but it means that the objectives are clear for those at the top. Those in there to make a fast buck can gradually be lost due to "natural wastage".

  • Comment number 40.

    Is the problem not that the bankers are paid too much but more they work for the wrong bank.

    The fact that all the High street deposit takers are now merchant banks is the issue. The high Street banks are integral in how we live. 40 years ago when i started work cash was king. There were no cheque cards, a hole in the wall was a novelty and the UK had one credit card. The merchant bankers still made large bonuses. but did not work for the high street.

    The problem is they both work for the same company now, and we can not do without the debit/credit card from these institutions. I f a company wants to play in the "casino" let them but they can not be on the High street.

    That legislation would make sense, rather than trying to fly the first part of an incomes policy without the decency to regulate prices. If they get away with bank bonuses where next; MPs pay probably not, but call centre workers, who knows.

  • Comment number 41.

    As a prime minister Brown is basically a 'dead duck'. I think most of the country realise that. It's a shame, because as person, he does not seem a bad bloke, but to much has happened on his watch ( both as chancellor and PM). The country also, does not like the fact that Brown, to them, was not elected by the people, to lead the country.

    So what now ?, if he has any sense, instead of blaming the world and his mother for all our countries wrongs, he should call a general election to wipe the slate clean, so we can all start again (hopefully this time with lessons learned ).

    We know the banks are greedy, we know Politicians fiddle their expenses, we know the house of lords is an anchor slowing change for better down, so should be done away with. So lets change these things and move forward.

  • Comment number 42.

    to quote you Robert "So if only the chancellor can shame Barclays and the other big banks not to use the lure of fabulous bonuses as a recruitment tool, Royal Bank will find it so much easier to attract and retain all those invaluable traders and financial engineers (which, I suppose, warms the cockles of all us, as de facto owners of this bank"

    show me hard evidence that traders and financial engineers are skilled and they need saving from moving from one company to another,because given a days training most of us could do 99% of what there people do and given 6 months in the job could do it all !

    the other point that needs to be made is it is all very well capping the bonuses now, what about all the loot that they have run off with already?
    so they might not be able to buy a Lambo cash on the nail now, but that wont worry them, because they have ten lambos sitting in the garage already from the last ten years or so.

  • Comment number 43.

    How sad it is, that despite all of the public outrage, all of the financial meltdown, all of new laws etc, that at no point has any iota of decency or morality been kickstarted in these bloated fatcats.

    Instead of facing the reality check, they have wriggled and writhed to make sure that they continue to rake in as much money as they possibly can.

    Take for example Stephen Hester, CEO of Royal Bank - A self confessed very wealthy man, who (he says) does his job because he enjoys the pressure and complexity of it. Yet Philip Hampton (chairman) states that to incentivise Stephen, he must set a salary of £1.2 million a year (plus all of the usual high calorie expenses and perks), and a give 3 year bonus of £9 million, otherwise Stephen won't do the job.

    These people are utterly addicted to money and power. They most certainly do not NEED any more, and all of them could 'survive' on very much less, but they don't because they are totally driven to grab as much for themselves as they possibly can.

    Unfortunately, they have been under the influence of money for so long, that they utterly believe they are worth every penny that they take.

    Do not look to politicians for saviour - they are completely addicted too.

  • Comment number 44.


    Think you might be on to something. Did Goodwin not cut his pension to about £600k. Can we check if it was 666,666 per annum?

    Not being of any particular religious persuasion - I looked into this and it seems there can be more than one antichrist!

    Characterised by someone sitting at the top of a "temple" and claiming to be our saviour.....any ideas who that could be?

  • Comment number 45.


    Think you might be on to something. Did Goodwin not cut his pension to about £600k. Can we check if it was 666,666 per annum?

    Not being of any particular religious persuasion - I looked into this and it seems there can be more than one antichrist!

    Characterised by someone sitting at the top of a "temple" and claiming to be our saviour.....any ideas who that could be?

  • Comment number 46.

    There's one very logical reason why Gordon and crew ably assisted by their complicit media are 'bashing' the bankers - Bread and Circuses. No more than a distractionary measure designed to take any focus off the catasrophic state of the UK's finances. The more you report on this Robert the more you help them achieve their aim ..... or is that the idea?

    10. At 11:04am on 28 Sep 2009, myopicaardvark wrote:
    "but all I want at the end of the year is a recognition of all the hard work I put into this place."

    Absolutely, I could not agree more. It is utterly shameful to single out an innocent element of society and heap scorn vitriol upon them. It's the scourge of modern society. Now give me my money back and you can share all of your company's losses between every single hard working employee no matter where they are in your company's hierarchy and that'll put a stop to the unfair criticism. After all, if the banking sector were treated the same way as all other businesses you'd be unemployed right now.

  • Comment number 47.

    I run a small asset finance business, serving the small business community and more or less the first thing Lombard (owned by RBS) did after receiving trillions of pounds of tax payers money was to cut off businesses like mine, which has made it very difficult (and expensive)for many small businesses to get vital funding for vans, plant and equipment. Those left lending are doing so at rates of 8-9% flat! NuLab were so naive when handing out the billions, most of which has gone to shore up balance sheets, and on write offs that will enable big future profits on the basis of getting rid of all the dirty laundry whilst bad news was expected. What has not happened is new lending to good small businesses and it is a disgrace

  • Comment number 48.

    At 12:54pm on 28 Sep 2009, teaboy100 wrote
    "Stephen Hester, CEO of Royal Bank - A self confessed very wealthy man, who (he says) does his job because he enjoys the pressure and complexity of it. Yet Philip Hampton (chairman) states that to incentivise Stephen, he must set a salary of £1.2 million a year (plus all of the usual high calorie expenses and perks), and a give 3 year bonus of £9 million, otherwise Stephen won't do the job."

    What we were never told and I would be very interested in knowing was this the salary that Stephen Hester asked for to do the job or was this the salary that he was offered by RBS?

  • Comment number 49.

    Oh what a sorry mess we are in.

    Is it no surprise that we are constantly told that the only thing that motivates a city banker to spend his day furiously flipping fictional ownership of other people's money, is, you guessed it; money.

    Not only do they horse-trade our homes, pensions and savings, but they also horse-trade themselves.

    What a morally, spiritually (and soon to be financially) bankrupt nation we are.

  • Comment number 50.

    Labour you messed it up, all that money gone. I like what you did with schools and hospitals....But when there is money in government everyone around them PFI etc all get greedy and rich, price fixing begins, the gravy train is joined. Private companies do it and so do public companies. We kill the golden goose.

    Someone explain to me where Labour went wrong and why the Cons would be any better. As i see it the main crime was Labour boasting about growth and laughing at the Cons about how they could keep spending because the economy kept growing.

    What they should have been doing was prudent spending with some rainy day saving but if theyd done that this fickle public would get rid of them. We wanted the good times not someone saying 'hold on to your horses....' We were all working, we were all spending and we all liked it. The banks screwed up by not realising what they were doing was phoney, and the government screwed up because they didnt see that it was all fake. It was in their best interests to turn a blind eye....What would the Tories have done differently.

    We want our cake... We get what we deserve...Well no we dont, we get what the bankers deserve, the bankers seem to carry on fine.

    The problem is as banks take short term gains, turn them into large bonuses,spending goes up....great,Tax and spend, but a lot of that money went on houses and second houses where the short term increases could not sustain the long term demands of the loans. Once a gain people were having to pay too much for houses. Fools were buying buy to let like sweets.

    So how do we exclude house prices & mortgages from (the market) temporarily wealthy city traders.

    Personnally I think the answer is dont play the game. See buying houses for financial gain as immoral. When a seller says i want a million for a 4 bed detached, say no. When a bank offers low interest on a massive mortgage say no.

    But this cant work because someone will always want more and everyone will follow like sheep. Everyone, the bankers, the government and the public wants more and more.

    I know ive rambled here, can anyone pick the bones out of what im asking?

    Save me from the wealthy privileged Tory boys, who benefit from the banking system, becoming the government. Maybe it is time for the Libdems...see what youve done labour youve ruined everything!

  • Comment number 51.

    Brown, (and Labour) can try and say all they like about bankers bonuses. But, as most have twigged, it will amount to precious little in terms of meaningful action.

    The economic crisis, caused by appalling business incompetence, amongst other things, seems to have sent the Germans out to vote for......the party of business in their latest election!

    Perhaps someone would kindly explain why they think a general movement to the "right" in politics will make things better? (Surely, banking in particular needs to have it wings clipped in the legal and regulatory sense? A Centre-right party won't have the idealogical motivation to deal with this adequately?) So bonus bashing will simply fade away after the next election!

    Thing is the bankers have already anticipated this. Meaning they already assume they have NOTHING to worry about, that our fabulous elite will be letting ordinary people down, as per usual and we can all go crawl back under our stones?

    British people, they deserve all they get! (I happen to think we should NOT have to feel sorry for students or anyone, unable to find a job this winter!) Still, I suppose if you're all right jack that's fine...

  • Comment number 52.

    We don't want to bash the bankers and the financiers. We just want our money back, lall of it, back dated 10 years. £trillion.

    The so called "banking crisis", "credit crunch" can also be called "looting" and "robbery", does not just happen overnight. For UK politicians, Blair has to bear as much blame as Brown.

  • Comment number 53.

    The idea that bankers should receive any bonus is obscene.

    They already have a job,courtesy of the taxpayer, that's a bonus.

    On the day the Chancellor is tinkering with bankers bonuses we have council workers in Leeds being told they need to accept a drop in wages of up to 30%. The contrast is beyond belief.

  • Comment number 54.

    The feeling among most of us must be the length of time it takes the government to achieve anything.

    Twelve months on and they are still bashing the banks whilst pouring billions into them to keep them propped up. There seems to be little progress on how to get some of the money back from them that's so badly needed to boost the economy now.

    Yes they've stalled the recession for now by printing money but as everything continues to deteriorate this can't go on and something will give. Whether it is a sterling crisis or inflation time is running out.

    There is a distinctive feel of meloncholy about Labour's conference and the rows of empty seats show how many have given up on Labour's empty promises.

    Fighting back may be the slogan but no fire in their bellies shows clearly they have not the stomach to take up the impending fight with the unions and others over the necessary cuts in public spending.

    Bashing the banks and bashing the Tories is a sign of a party that has given up so they should stop wasting everyone's time and call an election now. The longer they stay the worse things become.

  • Comment number 55.

    Am I the only one hoping for a hung parliament next year? no pun intended.

  • Comment number 56.

    Or maybe as the country is in the biggest mess its ever been, we should try out proportional representation for a few years instead of the left right left right left right frogmarch, and all work together to solve the problems?

  • Comment number 57.

    Labour always seem to be playing 'catch up'. They decide to bail out the banks with taxpayers money....OK so far, because it would ease the credit famine and stimulate the economy...but why didn't they lay down the terms and rules while they had a firm grip on the bankers' essentials? Once again, they have been totally outwitted and are now faced with trying to claw back money the bankers have already allocated to their salaries and bonuses. Fat chance of that! the bankers are back to business as usual and have the money in their coffers. Darling will be lucky to get a token gesture of restraint...the horse has bolted.

  • Comment number 58.

    If Cameron and Osborne were at the helm, the situation would be much worse. I must be one of the very few who are actually thankful it's Brown in 'control' not the cons, they have stated they would not intervene in the banking crisis so would they be telling their friends in the banks to cut their bonuses, I think not. What idea's have the cons come up with for fighting the recession, nothing but mud slinging and hiding their heads in the sand. I will welcome any moves to restrict greedy bankers wages and redistribute OUR wealth, thought I doubt none of the parties are too interested in redistributing the wealth.

  • Comment number 59.

    It's time to stop hounding the bankers. If we're going to clamp down on top people's bonuses, particularly packages agreed in advance where the recipient will get a bonus regardless of success or failure, then we need to look at ALL industries.

    NuLab win no vote from me over bank-bashing. It's an easy target. Perhaps they should have looked at the bonus culture 30 years ago when it started. After all, they've been pulling an awful lot of tax at 40% on the back of these bonuses.

    As I see it, Brown is acting a bit like a posture mattress: bending according to who's lying on him. He'll bash the banks as long as the electorate is crying "greedy bankers!" and "stop the bonuses!" But if he is re-elected (perish the thought) he'll be stymied by the loss of the City culture and its tax contribution. So will anyone else taking the reins.

  • Comment number 60.

    "Which remains something of a sore point for millions of taxpayers, who are more-or-less aware that almost no bank would be standing today if it weren't for the £1.3 trillion of support given to them by the state in the form of special loans, investment, guarantees and the creation of new money."

    Exactly how did you come by this information ?? From what I understand, there were and still are quite a few solid banks around that have *NOT* needed the bailouts or the "funny money" !! In fact, they would do far better if such didn't exist, since that would have cleared the market of all the deadwood and allow the rest to have a bigger market share !!

    So continual bashing of the mythical "bankers" will not get that pantomime duo, Crash Gordon and Comical Ali, re-elected !! Perhaps, they should try another tact !!

  • Comment number 61.

    Gordon was happy to talk about "light touch regulation" and praised the city for years when it was helping him to finance NU Labour with its many flawed social engineering projects. Now it's time to bash the bankers if only in a verbal capacity. Real change won't happen though because come next spring he'll be shuffling in the back door with Tony Bliar to work for these cowboys.

  • Comment number 62.

    Will the last person that leaves GB...please turn off the lights!

  • Comment number 63.

    I would suugest a law taxing @ 95% any bonus payment that took the receiver over 20 times the average earnings for their company would be positive in this situation.
    The little people would not pay punitively on their "earned" bonus and the targets of our ire would find little point in demanding contractual huge bonuses as HMRC would get most of it to give to Gordon to waste.

  • Comment number 64.

    slicker @ 27

    yes, it may be just rhetoric ... but I very much hope not

  • Comment number 65.

    #52. puzzling wrote:

    "..bankers..we just want our money back, all of it.." and then "Blair has to bear as much blame as Brown."

    I am sure that most of the developed World shares your feelings about bankers - however, if you are looking to blame particular politicians, which I agree that Bliar/Brown have much to answer for, but also consider who set up the regulatory environment that gave rise to this excessive exuberance - The Tories under Thatcher (and then the Banker - factually correct) John Major. Without the Tory dash for financial services would all this have happened, and further would it have been so bad if the financial services sector was smaller and under better regulatory control?

  • Comment number 66.

    If only we could find a modern day equivalent to
    Robin Hood/Dick Turpin/Guy Fawkes all rolled into one!

  • Comment number 67.

    I've just been listening to the new Norwegian PM praising Gordon Brown at the Labour Party conference. Astonishing really because the UK and Norwegian economies are like chalk and cheese.

    Mind you, along with the USA Norwegian companies dominate many of the supply side sectors in the offshore oil and gas sector so perhaps he was expressing his gratitude to the UK Govt and their chums in the City for having been so industrially incompetent. They're also probably delighted that the well known Spanish electricity company Scottish Power is doing a deal with a Norwegian Govt funded company that's developed a tidal turbine to install some units around Scotland. Come to think of it the Spanish PM was there as well praising El Gordo as well.

  • Comment number 68.

    In the next parliament, the debt issue will surround the speed and manner by which our £37billions bank investments - maybe more soon - will be turned into a vast profit. Arguably their under-lying worth is in excess of £80billions.

    If Tories do a "tell sid" sell-off, they'll have to offer massive discounts. Which'll reduce the size of our debt recovery. If Labour gets back, they're likely to sell our Bank shares in slices and over several years. That'll realise more cash, but miss the glamour of a public giveaway sale.

    As for regulating bankers' bonuses, that needed international agreement to be effective. And that's secured at G20 in Pittsburgh. Good.

  • Comment number 69.

    I have never heard such a load of old waffle from this clapped out government.

    ..."we are leading the world in sweeping away the old short-term bonus culture of the past" - Gordon Brown, February 2009

    ..."I think it is sometimes forgotten that bonuses are a big source of extra income tax" - Gordon Brown, June 2004

    How times change!!I rest my case!!

  • Comment number 70.

    lukeo1980 wrote:
    RBS should be using their profits not to pay bonuses, but to buy themselves back from the Government. The same goes for the other banks which we bailed out. It means less money going to ordinary staff (which, across the sector, has become the norm) but it means that the objectives are clear for those at the top. Those in there to make a fast buck can gradually be lost due to "natural wastage".

    I agree completely and being ordinary bank employee myself with a family, I am very relieved to still be in a job. There should be no bonus to ALL bank/financial based employees until the tax payers are paid back. It is also in the banks interest to this money pay back ASAP because the sharevalue will remain flat until this is full acheieved. Going forward FSA regulation has got be tightened as much as can be legally bounding and agreed.
    At the end of the day the government did not want tax payers to be making business decisions with vast sums of money or intervene themselves but they were not going to allow us suffer a Lehman Brothers crisis of our own...

  • Comment number 71.

    One day soon the sun will stop shining.
    The starving unemployed masses will seek out the well fed city elite.
    The reality of desperate people will be seen in the fancy restaurants of London. There will be no safe place to spend their ill gotten gains.
    The momentum of the poor man's revolution will shock planet westminster as the real world descends upon them.
    Talking tough will not help you then Gordo.
    Actually doing something might help.

  • Comment number 72.

    DebtJuggler...'If only we could find a modern day equivalent to
    Robin Hood/Dick Turpin/Guy Fawkes all rolled into one!'

    I think the problem is we have got these types governing us and our money.

    Guy fawkes tried to burn down the houses of parliament and he is a hero, the Taliban blow anything up and they are terrorists, Capitalism does something which neither of the two managed and it isn't classed as a terrorist and is still seen as a viable ideology.

  • Comment number 73.

    30. the_near_side asked:
    How much is the state's (i.e our) stake in the banks worth at current share prices? How much did the state pay for these stakes? Will the tax-payer lose, break-even, or gain?

    Our stakes in RBS + Lloyds are worth about £34billions, which is about what we paid for them. No one knows what our gaurantees will be worth, because they've not been agreed yet. When they are, we'll get shares in exchange. Northern Rock valuation awaits a court case: government argues that NR was bankrupt, some shareholders argue it had a small residual value.

    Nobody knows what underlying values remain in these banks. But my guess is that the present bundle could be sold in slices for more than £90billions, once they can pay dividends again.
    That'll yield a very fat profit and help to pay down public debts.

  • Comment number 74.

    And over in Germany.........

    "Together with the FDP, Mrs Merkel is expected to push for a new era of deeper economic reforms and tax cuts for Europe's biggest economy. Mrs Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the FDP benefited from dissatisfaction over spiralling national debt and stagnant income levels.

    The CDU retained its position as Germany's largest party with 33.5 per cent and the Free Democrats jumped to 15 per cent.

    The result marked a humiliating blow for Germany's venerable Social Democratic Party, which took just 22.5 per cent."

  • Comment number 75.

    68 leftilkly

    You are so optimistic. When do you really expect the banks to be able to stand on their own feet then? This year next year or sometime never.

    And what about those billions of toxic assets which now belong to the taxpayers and are literally worthless? Possibly look at 2050 when inflation has gradually eroded their value to zero. If you're waiting for the taxpayer to make a profit out of this mess please don't hold your breath.

  • Comment number 76.

    Banker bashing is populist drivel designed to detract from the hideous amounts of debt racked up before 'the crunch' by GB and his NuLab chums.

    Its designed to distract from goondog's lack of prudence and his bust not boom.

    Its designed to distract from the over regulated world we now live in where virtually everything we do needs to be on register for which we pay a fee to some quango or another.

    Its designed to distract from the number of people who are unemployed.

    Its designed to distract from the number of people who spend a lifetime on benefits

    Its designed to distract from the fact that this bunch thought they were running a fast moving consumer goods business but didn't realise we didn't want the product any more.

    Its designed to distract from the idiocy of climate change conferences followed by G20 discussions about return to sustainable growth

    Its designed to distract from the fact that we have far too many unelected government ministers and unchallenged government appointees and have become about as democratic as under George III. I feel like shouting shouting 'no more taxation or fees without representation!'

    Bankers bonuses. HA! populist drivel unchallenged by the BBC.

  • Comment number 77. about this for an idea, when the bankers return the money plus interest lent to them by the tax payer so that they had a job to go to in the morning, then they can start paying themselves bonuses again? Up until then, they get zilch. Or am I being a bit simplistic?

  • Comment number 78.

    I am the partner of someone who works for one of the banks named in this article.

    What the spin doctors and media band wagon fail to realise (or report - I guess it does not sell newspapers!) is that the vast majority of people who work in the banking industry are NOT these massive bonus traders and actually work in operations, customer supports and so on. Because the bonus incentive structure worked in the trading departments policy extended to all employees and so most employees get paid a lower than average base salary with a bonus incentive once they have completed their work to a satisfactory standard.

    so.... in effect the bonus is really a defected part of their salary.

    Our situation is that through no fault of my partner (who received an above expectations evaluation and saved the bank money in early completion of a major project) would have recieved a "pay rise" in a end of year bonus now has to work for the bank for the next 5 years to get that money. (is this not financial enslavement)

    This cap on bonuses would be fine if the salaries were adjusted to compensate.

    These essential workers are being punished for bad management of the compaines they work for. Think of a simualr situation, if train drivers got money docked from their wages everytime the trains were late - there would be uproar!

    And whilst everyone now seems to think bankers are the anti-christ, if they all went on strike for being underpaid the country would come to a complete stand still instead of the constantly complaining train drivers who actually get paid almost twice as much as the operational workers in the retail banks!

  • Comment number 79.

    @ 76

    big FAN of people bringing the banking system to the brink of collapse and trousering enormous sums of the money for their efforts, are you mrs bloggs? ... excellent!

  • Comment number 80.

    RE: 73. leftilkley

    "Our stakes in RBS + Lloyds are worth about £34billions, which is about what we paid for them."

    "Nobody knows what underlying values remain in these banks. But my guess is that the present bundle could be sold in slices for more than £90billions, once they can pay dividends again."

    Can you back that up with anything? You are assuming they will triple in price. Over what period of time? Don't forget that those stakes were bought with borrowed money - so we are paying interest on that borrowed money every single day, whether the share prices rise, fall or stagnate. Perhaps the price of RBS shares really will triple, but if it takes fifty years, that's not much use to us, is it?

    "That'll yield a very fat profit ..."

    You have no idea. Let's suppose we believe your numbers. And let's ignore all the interest that we will have to pay on the money the government borrowed in order to buy those shares. A £90 billion-ish sale, deduct the original £30 billion-ish purchase price, yields £60 billion or so in profit. Sounds impressive doesn't it? Unfortunately, if we believe our current chancellor's figures, when government borrowing finally peaks in a few years time, that £60 billion profit might be just about enough to pay the interest for one year.

    "... and help to pay down public debts."

    No. Not even one penny.

    Scary, isn't it?

  • Comment number 81.

    Bonuses and residual values of the banks is all flim flam.
    Designed to keep us looking enviously on.
    Look at the bigger picture.
    We the taxpayers have bailed the banks out.
    The banks in turn have toxic debt on their books.
    That in itself is double talk meaning the banks have got companies owing them loads of money.
    The banks have already given the companies loads of money.
    The banks did not have the money to give them.
    No matter though it is in the banks remit to lend money they do not actually have. It is what they are licenced to do.
    Now, in hard times, they are asking the taxpayers to bail them and the debtor companies out.
    Meanwhile no other companies can trade, compete properly, against those debtor companies since they are being supported by the banks - us.
    What a mess we are in.
    Cart and horses driven through the Enterprise Act 2002.
    All to keep banks up and running.
    Meanwhile the productivity of the UK is being ruined.
    We have a millstone round our neck called the banks.
    How to get rid?

    A real real tricky question. But I am thinking about it..

    The only way currently to level the playing field is for all nations to have banks creaming off wealth. Presumably the bankers will be expanding overseas and eventually everybody, except the bankers, will be afflicted.

    It could be that this is the way forward. The third world will begin to look attractive since there are no bankers there yet.

    There is another way of course. We all become bankers. Some will be more equal than others though..

  • Comment number 82.

    The real reason they are hitting out at the bankers is because they think it will garner votes.

    Nothing will happen to the big boys in the banks, the minions WILL be adversely effected.

    Typical new Labour, worthless action causing unintended consequences, hurting the least deserving and letting the real culprits go Scot free.

  • Comment number 83.

    I think massively overpaid ministers, top civil servants, top ranking council workers and heads of regional development agencies should also be included this list many earn over £100K plus trips overseas and obscene expenses for doing absolutely nothing.

  • Comment number 84.

    "Banker Bashing" is a clear vote-winner.
    The public detest the way that City staff have pocketed so much of the nations' wealth, whilst causing so much mayhem.
    Why should a City worker earn any more than 250k per year?
    Why are they worthy of a country-estate a year?
    Soldiers, doctors, surgeons, rig-workers, policemen, energy workers etc....all have an important role in modern society, and for far less money than City workers.
    Ludicrous favoritism and gambling in the financial sector has brought the country to its' knees, so bashing bankers is alright with me.
    The public will warm to Brown and Co if they bring some hard sense to the City, regardless of any past mistakes.
    There are a lot of young people ready to step into the City for a chance to earn over 100k.
    "bankers gorging on the carcass of the economy" (Peston line), will simply not do any more.

  • Comment number 85.

    I think massively overpaid ministers, top civil servants, top ranking council workers and heads of regional development agencies should also be included along with the bankers many earn over £100K plus trips overseas and obscene expenses for doing absolutely nothing.

  • Comment number 86.

    Apart from being divisive within, and a source of envy outside the firms that pay them, extrinsic rewards such as bonuses don't do anything to improve performance - see for example.
    As Dan Pink's video at shows, if the work is at all creative, then extrinsic rewards make people perform worse. If extrinsic rewards only improve performance when the work is dull, repetitive and devoid of creativity what does this say about bankers and their seeming need for humungous bonuses?

  • Comment number 87.

    #79 Dear Mr Mix

    Methinks you doth assume too much.

    I am aggravated by many things.

    Potential cuts to primary education might be one.

    Extrapolation might be another.

    Yrs Mrs Bloggs

  • Comment number 88.

    Mrs Bloggs @ 87

    ah okay, I'm sorry - by "populist drivel" then (if you're NOT a fan of the City bonus system) you obviously mean the Government are just coming out with "hot air" to win votes ... the PD bit ... but you would support appropriate and serious measures to tackle the problem, regardless of which party puts them forward - in which case, we agree!

    (sorry again)

  • Comment number 89.

    I am amazed by the comments calling for an immediate election. The Tories will loosen the regulations on the city making the problems we have more and more likely. They would have spent nothing helping British business just as they did nothing in 1981 and 1992. We are all sleepwalking into a disastrous Tory govt.

    Big big big mistakes to give them the reins of power.

  • Comment number 90.

    Now if I go down to my local bank and ask for a loan the charge is lekely to be in the region of 9% (if I am lucky - on a Credit Card more like 20-24%), so if we have "loaned" the banks £1.3trillion should we not be getting £117billion in interest alone. With a deficit heading towards £175billion does that not in someway reduce it to £58billion?

    To say the banks have changed their ways is like a politician saying my claim was made in error. If the CEO of RBS is heading towards his £6million bonus as the RBS share price moves ever upwards to its ridiculously low target of 79p they same old practices are in place. Most of the world lives on credit, we take more from the planet than it can provide (I believe we had this years lot by 24 September) so in all things we are a generation of pillagers. Throughout the market place of world activity the notion of more is good is unsustainable; world ecenomies reliant on price inflation producing fictitious wealth. Whole areas of economic activity based upon the gamblers' instinct or spiv want something for nothing. From the so called bastions of our industries/financial institutions to the gluttony of our administraters; from the world of celebrity glitz to the sporting wag - every self-interested individual busily grabbing more. Instead of relating the monopoly money figures why not relate it to worker hours (lets say in a country like Kenya) which puts this greed into relationship to its actual worth. Mr Goodwin's pension (of £600,000pa) takes the Kenyan worker (earning about £40pm) approximately 1,250 years to produce or 1,250 Kenyan people one year to pay for his pension. If we factor in the ever increasing number of greed merchants it takes the majority of China to fill their pot.

    A footballer (let's say Rio Ferdinand earning £120,000pw) needs 13,000 Kenyans slogging away; a media celebrity (let's say Jonothan Ross earning £5,000,000pa) relies on about 10,400 people. Now I have watched both in action of late and nobody can convince me that their activities warrant 23,400 people working on their behalf. Start actually discussing the "world theft" that western materialism entails; start looking at the necessities in life rather than perpetuating the money game - I realise that you and yours are reliant on your inflated salary, and us bloggers have the psychological release of pent-up rage, but in terms of what you actually comment on are you really worth all those Kenyans?

  • Comment number 91.


    Dear Mr Mix

    Again, you assume far too much.

    The current head of the FSA was in charge of regulating wholesale markets in his previous role. Most of the problems of Northern Rock, Bradford and Bingley, Alliance and Leicester, RBS and HBOS were caused by overdependence on wholesale funds which melted away as US rates came close to UK rates and oil prices rose to $140 per barrel.

    I can be therefore be irritated by bonuses that have been paid to characters at the institution that should have been providing some regulation.

    "The FSA paid out £19.7m in bonuses last month, compared with £13.9m the previous year, with one official receiving £90,000. The regulator, which is cracking down on bonus payments across the banks, defended the increase, saying it had about 250 extra staff in 2008 compared with 2007, and that it had to pay more to attract and retain the highly-qualified people needed to improve regulation in the wake of the financial crisis."

    And lets face it, the simulations carried out by the FSA indicated clearly that Northern Rock would be in trouble if funds dried up and did nothing.

    "News of the bonuses came after the Financial Times reported that Northern Rock's vulnerability to a crisis in wholesale lending markets was identified by the FSA in a "war game" back in 2004.

    The regulator's risk simulation exercise showed Northern Rock's business model posed a systemic risk that could in turn hit HBOS, the mortgage lender rescued by Lloyds last autumn. The FSA declined to comment."

    Yrs Mrs Bloggs

  • Comment number 92.


    Why did the Bank of England suddenly increase its reserves by 400%, or £24 billion in the second quarter of 2006?

    Aren't we supposed to believe they didn't see the credit crunch coming?

  • Comment number 93.

    Forgive the link to a rival site, but I'd like to put forward this evidence in support of my previous comment:

  • Comment number 94.

    The bankers do need reigning in but how about stopping MPs bonuses..... in the past two months, around 100 MPs have travelled to 15 countries at an estimated cost to the public of £750,000.
    Seven MPs went on a £70,000 trip to New Zealand to investigate binge-drinking!

    Another group went to Labour-dominated delegation of six MPs, two peers and two aides, flew business class to Fiji via Australia for their 16-day visit to islands including Tonga. The stated purpose was to look at how the islands are being affected by climate change. There was a major climate change conference held at the time but none of the group attended...and two days after their return Fiji was actually expelled from the commonwealth..
    They still don't get it!

  • Comment number 95.

    mrs bloggs @ 91

    ah ha ... interesting ... thank you

    so what is your view on the mega bonuses paid to key players in the investment banking industry in the City, and on Wall St - you baulked at my assuming you were a FAN (for which I apologise again) so how about we hear it from the horse's mouth? - sounds like "not irritated" might cover it but I don't want to, you know, start assuming again

  • Comment number 96.

    The people who caused the problems were generally not bankers. They were investment bankers (not bankers who lend money to businesses), traders (who are not bankers) and "rocket scientists" who invented ever more complex financial instruments(and who again are not Bankers). I've been a banker for 25 years and by all means blame the Boards of Banks who did not have the wisdom to control these high risk elements of their trading operations but to generalise bankers as fat cats, making short term lending decisions for short-term financial gain (i.e.bonuses)is not reality. Bankers who lend money have for many years had lending targets balanced by quality controls that stopped bonuses getting paid if the lending did not stand the test of time. SORRY TO ARGUE AGAINST THE POLITICAL CR*P COMING FROM ALL THE MAIN POLITICAL PARTIES BUT BLAMING THE VAST MAJORITY OF BANKERS FOR THE BEHAVIOURS OF A TINY FRACTION OF GREEDY TRADERS ETC,IS IGNORING THE FACTS AND SIMPLY THEM TRYING TO GET THEIR OWN 10 second SOUNDBITE ON THE NEWS FOR THEIR OWN POLITICAL PURPOSES. Robert Peston's remarks, re Xmas bonus's for bankers to buy a fancy new car, may help him sell a few of his opportunistic books (how much has he made out of this crisis,DOES ANYONE KNOW THAT) but is utterly garbage reporting.

  • Comment number 97.

    hg @ 90


    if a person is adding X of Economic Value through the work they do, and is extracting Y in Net Pay for doing it, then ...

    (1) if X is bigger than Y they are making the rest us richer


    (2) if Y is bigger than X they are making the rest of us poorer

    and thus:

    almost EVERYBODY in the UK is a net TAKER ... case (2)

    (some more than others obviously ... e.g. Bankers)

  • Comment number 98.

    shire @ 96

    do stop it - yes we know it's investment bankers - well, them plus rogue mortgage salesman, plus hybrids like Northern Rock, plus dodgy insurers like AIG, plus craven negligence by the ratings agencies, plus collusion by the central banks via lax monetary policy, plus cowed, incompetent regulators, plus ... oh you know

    but hey, if you want us to say YOU weren't to blame, then fine ... I'm sure you weren't

  • Comment number 99.

    Labour will never cut front line services such as bonuses to bankers,without whom the hole Gordonzi scheme would crash [courtesy the tAAAxpayer]

    The great Gordini [master of the forbidden AAArts AND GREATEST ILLUSIONIST SINCE TOMMY COOPER]will do the decent thing and stay till he can take his hole s crew with him to never never land

  • Comment number 100.


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