Julian Knight: Thanks a lot, Sir Fred. Now please slither into history

So The Shred gives up part of his pension; we're still furious, but it's time to move on

Bless Sir Fred "the Shred" Goodwin, who in an act of pure Mother Teresa-style selflessness has voluntarily given up some of his huge pension – available at age 50, 10 years before the normal retirement age – secured during the death throes of his disastrous time at the top of RBS (now, in effect, government-owned).

Putting aside the burning question of how Sir Fred can possibly be able to live on a pension of a mere £342,000 a year, (perhaps we ought to organise a whip-round for him? Oh, I forgot, the Government has already done that for us), what's really important about Sir Fred's decision is that it doesn't damage the principle that once a pension is given a company can't come along and take it back. There was a real danger that because of the stupidity and immorality of giving The Shred such a bumper retirement pot in the first place, a fundamental principle of worker/employee relations was going to be ditched.

OK, I reckon there is barely a person in the UK who wouldn't have liked to see Sir Fred lose the lot – particularly the thousands RBS workers made redundant this year– but, by bringing this about, there was the possibility that others, outside of the grotesques of the banking world, may have suffered down the line.

As for Sir Fred, maybe he feels that with so much righteous anger being targeted at MPs, this is the time to start the rehabilitation necessary to emerge back into public and business life. Part of me would hate that – It would confirm that the old-boy network is more brazen than ever – but another part of me thinks that, really, we need to move on from Sir Fred. After all, anger also sucks the life out of the person feeling it. Collectively, we'd probably be better off to draw a line under him and the other bankers, and leave them, hopefully, to the cold, clammy embrace of obscurity.

Insurers make merry

The first indication from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders of how successful the Government's car-scrappage scheme has been will come this week. My Fiat dealer told me the other day that he has seen a dramatic upturn in trade since the scheme was introduced. This is only one dealer, of course, in a prosperous part of the country, specialising in the sort of small cars that would likely be within the price range of those taking advantage of the £2,000 grant for trading in their old bangers, so it's hardly definitive proof. But it's not just my dealer who is making merry – car insurers are joining in with the imposition of, in my view, unwarranted and over-the-top "mid-term adjustment" fees. This catchily named fee is levied whenever a customer changes cars during the life of a policy.

Now it's fair enough that if you change from an old banger to a brand spanking new motor you should have your premium adjusted, but what justification do the insurers have for levying a fee as high as £35 for just carrying out the transaction? They would argue it's an extra administration cost, but surely all it takes is a few minutes' conversation and some documents through the post. We are possibly talking pennies, not pounds, here. The truth is it's just another way of squeezing the consumer, in the same way that if you want to cancel a policy you have to pay a hefty fee. I remember two years ago paying £45 to get out of a £350 motor-insurance contract.

I have been concerned for a long time that car insurance is not honestly priced. Take a look at any price-comparison site and you will see huge differences in terms and conditions. Drill deeper and the "mid-term adjustments" and cancellation fees are hugely different. Some insurers even charge interest on policies paid for by monthly direct debits. Ever since I have been in personal finance journalism, I have had insurers bleating about how car cover is actually a loss-maker for them, it seems that their way around this is confusion marketing and the imposition of unfair fees.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

    Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

    Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

    Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

    Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

    Day In a Page

    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015
    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall