Monday, 26 June 2017

One law for us – and another for the banksters

EARLIER this month we reported on the news that Sir Stephen Bubb – the chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations – had called for bank bonuses to be taxed. (1) He suggested a tax rate of 50% – with the proceeds given straight to good causes to help protect them from government spending cuts.

Our article – Will the government tax the super-rich bankers? – noted that these “bank bonuses come at a time of massive job cuts and increases in student fees. They also come at a time when the voluntary sector’s income from state sources could shrink by between £3bn and £5bn as a result of the cuts.”

We highlighted what sort of money was involved in these bank bonuses, and said that we’d be interested in the Con-Dem government’s response to the call to tax them. Our feeling was that Cameron and Clegg would fail to tax these super-rich bosses in order to help poorest and most vulnerable in society. We also felt that the government would effectively “just let the banks dictate terms as they have always done.”

Sadly, all the early indications look like we were bang on the money ourselves. For the Wall Street giant JP Morgan Chase (2) has just announced that it will give its investment bankers an average payout of £233,000 ($369,651) for 2010. The bank employs around 10,000 British-based staff.

But it doesn’t stop there. According to the Mail Online (3) “Goldman Sachs, which unveils its financial results on Wednesday, is tipped to dish out £8billion in salary, bonuses and other perks for 2010 – down from £10billion for the previous year.

Royal Bank of Scotland, 83 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is set to pay out around £1billion in bonuses to staff at its investment bank.

The chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, Eric Daniels, could be in line for a £2million bonus for 2010 – even though he led the group into its disastrous takeover of HBOS and the ignominy of a taxpayer bailout.

And Bob Diamond, the boss of Barclays, is expected to receive an £8million bonus for last year.”

Now, let’s get one thing straight. The National Liberal Party is not opposed to people having money. Nor are we opposed to people being rewarded in some way for doing a good job. Indeed, some of us are trade unionists – and it’s our job to fight for better wages for our members.

However, there needs to be a sense of proportion here. The banks should be about providing a service. They should not be gargantuan trans-national money-making machines.

It’s not right that some of the most needy and poorest people in society have to survive on benefits and the minimum wage, whilst others are swimming in obscene amounts of money.

Neither is it right that ordinary British working folks are taxed up to the hilt whilst many of Britain’s biggest companies “employ complex and secretive tax arrangements to limit the amount they hand over to the exchequer.” This is a practice that has gone on for years. (4)

At the moment it looks like there’s one law for us – and another for the banksters and big companies. This has to stop.

(1) http://nationalliberal.org/?p=1806

(2) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jan/14/jp-morgan-bankers-share-10bn

(3) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1347253/David-Cameron-Its-wrong-revenge-250k-bank-bonuses.html#ixzz1BDHR2hgm

(4) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/feb/02/tax-gap-avoidance

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