George Osborne: Common sense, not envy, dictates that we clamp down on bonuses

Share
Related Topics

The banks have to understand that we are all in this together. I am today calling on the Treasury and the FSA to combine forces and stop retail banks - in other words the banks that lend directly to businesses and families - paying out profits in significant cash bonuses. Full stop.

That includes their investment banking arms. Then the cash that would have been paid out should be put onto banks' balance sheets explicitly to support new lending. This should be a condition of continuing to receive taxpayer guarantees and liquidity support. I am not, of course, referring here to the small cash pay outs to the staff in the branches and the call centres. Nor am I insensitive to the need of Britain's banks to remain competitive and retain their most talented staff.

So where banks do want to pay bonuses this year to those senior staff who have earned them, those bonuses should take the form of new equity capital - shares in the business.

This equity capital will strengthen the balance sheet and support new lending. To those who say that Britain should not act alone, I say we would not be. The Obama administration's new policy will see the cash remuneration of the top bankers cut by 90%, and banks have been told to pay out in shares instead.

America is acting. Britain at the moment is not. The Conservative Party believes in enterprise and a competitive economy. We know financial services have a huge role to play in Britain's future. The politics of envy will play no part in our plans. But we do need the politics of common sense. There can be no justification for using taxpayer support and guarantees to pay cash into the bank accounts of bankers when the rest of the economy is in such desperate need of that cash.

Cash for the economy - not cash for the bonuses. Accelerating the recapitalisation of the banking sector to increase lending capacity must go hand in hand with greater competition to help bring down margins.

The best way to increase competition is to encourage new entrants and limit the ability of the largest banks to dominate the market. We need more smaller banks, competing with the bigger banks to serve families and businesses in a responsible way.



Taken from a Reuters speech given by the Shadow Chancellor yesterday

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn