In the House of Commons today, Jo challenged the Chancellor to stand up for taxpayers by taking immediate action to freeze bankers’ bonuses.
The government has faced calls to intervene after it was revealed this week that Royal Bank of Scotland plans to give out £1billion in bonuses to its staff. 68% of the bank is owned by tax payers after £20billion of public money was spent bailing out the company in October.
Commenting, Jo said:
“At a time when many people are losing their jobs, and families are struggling to pay their bills, it is unbelievable that some of the bankers who are responsible for this financial crisis are even considering taking such huge bonuses at the tax payer’s expense. As shareholders we have every right to have a say in how these banks are run, and it’s time the government listened to the public and put a stop to this madness.”
The text of Ms Swinson’s question to the Chancellor appears below:
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): This week, one banker has described a salary of £1 million as “modest” and RBS has proposed obscene bonuses of £1 billion. Will the Chancellor now stand up for the taxpayers who own great chunks of the banks and demand a freeze on bankers’ bonuses?
Mr. Darling: The honourable Lady will be aware that when we recapitalised the banks in October, we imposed restrictions on the payment of cash bonuses to board members. I believe that bonuses should reward success, not failure, and many people who work for banks are not well paid in comparison with some of the people at the top. If the former work hard, they should be rewarded for doing so. I agree with the hon. Lady that people who are associated with the losses should not receive anything, and we must end the culture that has encouraged people to take reckless risks that the boards of the banks patently did not understand. It has had disastrous consequences for them, for this country and for the rest of the world.