i Editor's Letter: Stand by for blood on the high street

 

 

The friendly staff at my Barclays branch are one of the reasons I stick with the bank – a hangover from my student overdraft. Will these helpful souls be among the 12,000 workers it intends to jettison this year? Meanwhile, boss Antony Jenkins – brought in to rescue Barclays’ reputation – has let bonuses at the investment banking arm rise by 13 per cent despite a big drop in performance (profits there are down 37 per cent to £2.5bn).

Those notorious Spartists, Fleet Street’s banking correspondents, stuck it to Mr Jenkins in the conference call yesterday and didn’t swallow the line about having to pay top dollar for “talent”.

The real story? Mr Jenkins, who last week was feted for turning down his own bonus, needs to squeeze maximum profit out of the retail arm. “Stand by for blood on the high street,” warns our Business Editor James Ashton.

The bottom line for the Barclays chief is not you, me or the helpful adviser in the branch over the road, but keeping his high rollers sweet – and pleasing the shareholders. For as long as Mr Jenkins makes this so obvious to the rest of us, he will fail to restore Barclays’ reputation. Wakey wakey.

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Mere weeks after Jack from Silent Witness was shown recuperating in hospital with a copy of i – we await peer-reviewed research on the lasting benefits of reading these pages – I’m pleased to say that i’s newsroom will feature in a future instalment of the Worricker spy drama for BBC television, created by David Hare and starring Bill Nighy. Hare wanted to film in a “live” working newsroom, so one Sunday, in trooped his crew and cast. Watch out for real journalists in the background, chewing up the scenery.

i@independent.co.uk

Twitter: @olyduff

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