Socialist Worker

Stop giving our cash to bankers - Sack them!

Issue No. 2141

Gordon Brown keeps serving up the dosh
 (Montage: Simon Assaf)

Gordon Brown keeps serving up the dosh (Montage: Simon Assaf)

Disgraced banker Fred Goodwin is going to keep his £16 million pension, despite some bluster from elements of the Labour government.

The former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) boss’s reward for leading the company to near collapse is just the tip of the iceberg of New Labour’s slavish devotion to the bankers.

Lord Myners, Gordon Brown’s City minister, gave the go ahead for the pension of £693,000 a year. He didn’t realise it was an obscene amount of money.

Myners was chair of the Guardian Media Group and Land Securities Group, Europe’s largest property developer. He gave £12,700 to Brown’s leadership campaign in 2007. Brown appointed Myners as chair of the Low Pay Commission.

Myners was also a director of GLG, a hedge fund that speculated massively on the collapse of the Bradford & Bingley bank. The government then bailed out the bank.

It’s not just individual bankers who are feathering their nests with cash. The amount of money the government has thrown at the banks to prop them up is spectacular.

No one knows how much public money will be given to the banks, because no one knows how much money they owe.

The government has spent £200 billion on RBS and is about to spend £200 billion on Lloyds – and we will get nothing in return.

These bail outs come on top of the £250 billion in credit and the £37 billion in hard cash that was handed to the banks last year.

The government has guaranteed 90 percent of the banks’ potential losses on top of this.

The banks haven’t the slightest idea how much bad debt they have yet the government is guaranteeing them whatever the amount turns out to be.

In return, the banks do have to pay a nominal fee, meaning we give them lots of money and they give some of it back.

The bailouts miss the point that banks are out to make a profit, not to help the economy or act in the interests of ordinary people.

The billions handed to the banks have not gone into the economy. They certainly haven’t gone to help people suffering the consequences of the developing crisis.

The bankers have amassed huge fortunes. Now millions of ordinary people face lost pension funds, repossessed homes, destroyed jobs and huge cutbacks in public spending on services due to the crisis in the bankers’ system.

Labour’s bail outs will more than double the national debt, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The government is guaranteeing the debts and liabilities of the nationalised and part-nationalised banks – some £1.5 trillion.

That could push the country’s debt levels up to 150 percent of national income, from 48 percent now.

This amounts to a transfer of wealth from the public purse to the bankers – with absolutely no influence over what they do.

When the government takes over a bank it leaves most of the same people and policies in place. This week the government-owned Northern Rock has posted a loss of £1.36 billion for 2008. It owes the government £8.9 billion.

Since chancellor Alistair Darling took over the bank it has repossessed 63 percent more homes. Labour’s bank currently owns 3,620 homes it has repossessed.

The government should not be allowing bankers to throw people out of their homes.

We shouldn’t be paying some banker’s pension. We shouldn’t be paying any of them at all. They should be paying back the money they have stolen from us. They should all be sacked and the banks should be run in the interests of the people.

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Article information

Tue 3 Mar 2009, 18:33 GMT
Issue No. 2141
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