I have been a vocal critic of the “crooks in suits” in the City since they kicked off the country’s economic meltdown and it makes me angry to the core that they still want to award themselves huge bonuses.
They’re no better than benefit fraudsters who claim they need the money because they can’t live without our handouts – and then carry on regardless at our expense.
On the other hand, we are told to stop “bashing the bankers” as they will pack their calculators under their arms and leave for other countries, resulting in a once-great financial centre becoming a barren wasteland.
While it is a just cause to want the banks to pay (both literally and figuratively) for the bail-out Gordon Brown and his crew instigated, we need to focus on putting the country back on track.
We have to face the hard truth that we’re never really going to get justice for what happened. We’re angry, sure. But common sense says that isn’t going to help create jobs or help the economy grow.
As many small and medium-sized businesses will have experienced in the last couple of years, banks either stopped lending to companies altogether or made it a lot tougher or more expensive to borrow. By getting the banks to agree to up their lending to SMEs by £10bn to £76bn for 2011, we are seeing the first steps on the road to getting companies and the economy moving again.
I just hope that the supposed “hard ball” tactics the Treasury insisted were used during negotiations continue in the assessment of bank lending.
We need to see, in black and white, not only how much the banks are going to lend to small businesses, but how the criteria and costs have been made less restrictive. At the end of the year, we also want to see how many jobs the loans have helped create and the subsequent economic growth.
This has to be the price of the next generation of bankers’ bonuses.
Of course, it will still anger people that the banks we part-own can even award bonuses at all. But the quest for justice doesn’t always put food on the table.
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