Labour grandees join the bonus bashing backlash - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Labour grandees join the bonus bashing backlash

 

"Banker and bonus bashing" by leaders of all three main political parties is undermining British business and harming the nation's image abroad, senior Labour figures have warned.

Alistair Darling, the former chancellor, and Lord Mandelson, the former business secretary, have joined an industry-led backlash against the attacks on executives in line for big bonuses by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg. Political pressure forced Stephen Hester, the RBS chief executive, and directors at Network Rail to surrender their bonuses and saw Fred Goodwin, the former RBS boss, stripped of his knighthood. One senior business figure said: "Mr Cameron should show leadership and stand up for business rather than follow the baying mob, even if it makes him unpopular."

In a sign that Downing Street may soften its line, it declined to urge restraint at Barclays Bank, which is today due to announce its bonuses, including one for its chief executive, Bob Diamond, who may be entitled to a multi-million-pound payment.

Mr Darling told The Independent: "No matter what mistakes or gross errors of judgement individuals have made, we need to remember that this industry is vitally important for the whole country, not just the City of London. People are entitled to draw attention to some of the excesses and the fact that pay and bonuses don't seem to bear any relationship to results. But what we don't want is to compromise our position as one of the world's leading financial centres. The combination of what happened to Stephen Hester and Fred Goodwin can potentially be quite damaging to us."

The former chancellor, who has discussed his concerns with Mr Miliband, said the Labour leader understood the importance of a financial services industry which employs more than 1 million people. He said: "People expect certainty from the British Government. But in the past fortnight, the Prime Minister appears to be taking action on a whim. He looks like he is being blown around in the wind."

Directing his fire at all parties, Lord Mandelson said: "A pro-openness and pro-business cross party consensus has consisted under the last Labour and Tory governments and it would be wrong to put this at risk. Britain has a worldwide reputation for being welcoming and hospitable to business. In the highly competitive world we live in, that's gold dust. We will play around with this at our peril because real investment and real jobs are at stake."

Speaking in Sheffield last night, Mr Miliband hit back at George Osborne, the Chancellor, who on Tuesday criticised Labour's rhetoric. He said: "George Osborne says that action to tackle big bonuses is 'anti-business'. It is not. It is pro-business to demand responsibility at the top and an end to the something-for-nothing culture which has damaged our economy in the financial crisis at every level, wrecked businesses and left everyone else squeezed."

A new 'fat cat' target emerges

The woman appointed by David Cameron to get families back to work paid herself a dividend of £8.6m last year, most of which came from the taxpayer. During a grilling from the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, it was also revealed that Emma Harrison's company, A4e, had been awarded contracts worth about £160m and £180m last year as part of the Government's Work Programme, despite an "abysmal record" of fulfilling previous obligations. Committee member, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, called the fees paid to the firm "an outrage".

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week