Far be it from us to belittle the sacrifice made by Sir Fred Goodwin (or Willie Walsh for that matter). Fifty per cent (still more, 90 per cent) of an enormous amount is still quite a sizeable sum. Neither is going to be exactly on the breadline. But in reaching agreement with the bank he once headed to have his pension reduced by £200,000 a year, Sir Fred finally seems to have understood what was required of him, even if it was in the face of threatened legal action from Royal Bank of Scotland.
This is a morality tale, if not a completely satisfactory one, for our times. This particular pension had become a symbol for all that had gone wrong with Britain's financial sector. It seemed the ultimate distillation of the two worlds of "us" and "them"; fat-cattery at its most brazen and least apologetic. Of course, RBS, and the Government, should have shown more spine when it came to negotiating Sir Fred's departure in the first place. That this pension has now been reduced, however, is a tribute to what force of public opinion can do. Public pressure – let's have a bit more of it.Reuse content