Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Osborne Is after Votes Rather Than Real Reform of the Banks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Osborne Is after Votes Rather Than Real Reform of the Banks

Article excerpt

ANOTHER week, another policy dictat from George Osborne -- and more bafflement and anger in the City.

A financial heavyweight said to me recently that he'd come to the conclusion that the shadow chancellor did not want to know how the economy and the Square Mile work, that merely giving the impression of knowing was enough. He said that before Osborne's latest pronouncements on bank bonuses.

Put simply, they don't stack up. He wants to clobber the UK retail banks, yet they were bit players in the causes of the banking crisis. Investment banks and hedge funds, he is leaving alone. That's because the UK High Street banks are a soft, easy target; going after the rest is much more difficult.

Osborne says that bonuses should be paid in shares not cash, yet the one bank that took pride in rewarding its staff with shares was a certain Lehman Brothers.

He's determined to pin the blame on bankers and their bonuses, but he pays no regard to the fact that the central banks set interest rates too low and a great tide of money was unleashed with disastrous consequences. …

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