Thursday, 7 February 2013

George Osborne: Let’s turn our love for the banks into a force for change.

From The Evening Standard:

Think of some of the most important moments in a banker's life. When he lent you money to buy your own home with a mortgage, regardless of whether you could repay it. When he took the plunge and lent you money secured on your home so that you could start your own business. When you retired and drew on what was left of your pension after the insurance company had taken its hard earned cut. On each of those occasions, the banker relied on the general public and put his trust in you.

That is why it’s so important to have that trust reciprocated and a system that works for the financial services sector. That’s what I am working to achieve, not only for the thousands of well-paid bankers who rely on your support but also for the second tier traders and salesmen who rely on commission income.

Like all this Government’s reforms — to welfare, to the economy, to schools and to housing — we want to back aspiration and be on the side of those who want to get their hands on your money. Sadly, nowhere have these simple principles been broken more clearly than in your attitude towards the banking system over the past decade.

That is why, five years on from that crash, bankers are still so angry. And when they discover more about what went so wrong — the mis-buying of interest rate swaps by small firms, the greed and corruption of savers demanding higher interest rates — they get angrier still.

I understand the anger. I feel it too. But anger can be a destructive thing if it is not channelled into change. It would be all too easy to just to punish savers and taxpayers and chase the headlines. Which is why I am doing this the hard way with the Funding for Lending Scheme and the NewBuy and NewBuild schemes.

Let there be no doubt about this: the Tory party in government is prepared to put aside its rhetoric about an 'influx of foreign workers' or 'pay moderation in the public sector' and will send out a clear message by offering the new Governor of the Bank of England a starting salary of £800,000 as a gesture of the British taxpayer's respect and admiration for all hard-pressed, hard working bankers.


Bayard said...

"When the crash happened, 10 per cent of the wealth of this country was lost"

How much of that 10% was fairy money - a fall in house prices?

My thoughts were that it's a bit early for this sort of thing: the words will have been forgotten come the election, so they will have to deliver with the actions if they want to make political capital out of it. They say the last politician to really take on the big banks was JFK and look what happened to him.

DavidECooper said...

A deeply affecting piece. Tragically there are heartless swine - even politicians- calling for bankers to be punished for their selfless work in moving idle money from the taxpayer to productive use in the Cayman islands. It's terrible how the politics of envy continues to pollute public discourse.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, it wasn't wealth, we've done that.

DEC, the politics of envy. A bit like the 2% Council Tax freeze for hard working hard pressed middle England and a 900% Council Tax hike for the feckless poor. Those are the ones we are really envious of.

Bayard said...

What, it was all fairy money? Thought so.