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Ben Chu: Britain's poor neglected banks

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Thursday, 31 December 2009 at 11:52 am

angela_knight_small.jpg - dimensions 133x100px, filesize 3.77kB

Angela Knight of the British Bankers' Association has a salutary New Year history lesson for us all:

"There are literally tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of British jobs directly and indirectly related to banking - bringing billions of pounds in tax income...The UK has a record of building up great industries such as in steel, shipbuilding, engineering. It also has a history of losing them. It loses industries by: taxing them wrongly; regulating them inappropriately; not investing in them; and taking actions that prevent them from being internationally competitive."

Leave aside the issue of tax, regulation and international competitiveness, the warning over investment is a humdinger. According to the National Audit Office, the British banking sector has had £850bn of support in various forms since autumn 2008. If that's Ms Knight's idea of inadequate public investment in the financial services, I dread to think how much taxpayers cash she wants bunged in the direction of her employers.

photo: British Bankers' Association


Fun with numbers
britishbankers wrote:
Monday, 4 January 2010 at 02:36 pm (UTC)
Hi Ben - British Bankers' Association here. Eye-popping figure that £850 billion. But it doesn't appear in the NAO report, which puts the cost of state support at £117 billion. Seriously - search the report: it's not there.

This doesn't diminish your point at all, as it's still an awful lot of money. The point we would make is that the banking sector wants to ensure every penny is paid back to the taxpayer. Regulating the industry out of existence isn't going to help to achieve that.