24 Feb 2010

Conference: Greens support Billy's move to curb bankers bonuses

Motions were passed at conference that mean the Green Party election manifesto will include a top-rate Bankers' Bonuses Tax and a bid to break up big banks. See my main ramble about conference here.

Photo: me at conference

Greens have given support to Billy Bragg's call for bankers' bonuses to be limited to a maximum of £25,000 - but have argued this is only a first step. We would want to propose to the next government that state-owned banks don't pay bonuses at all.

Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg launched an online campaign last month, called NoBonus4RBS.

Caroline Lucas MEP, leader of the Green Party, is quoted saying: "For bankers to continue to expect to be paid bonuses after the crisis of the past 18 months is extraordinary - particularly in banks which are being propped up by the taxpayer. I agree with Billy Bragg: at the very least, and as a first step, I want to see the government limit the bonuses that are paid to employees of any wholly or partly state-owned banks to a maximum of £25,000. I see no reason why any banker should expect a bonus of more than £25,000. Let's remember that we're talking about a bonus on top of their wages, and they're actually very well paid. A bonus of £25,000 is almost the national average wage, and a lot of people work very hard for a whole year to earn £25,000 - or less. So no banker should claim they deserve such a bonus on top of their wages."

Bankers' Bonuses Tax - and a bid to break up the big banks

The proposal is that if a bank, whether state-owned or otherwise, announces it's going to pay £X billion in bonuses, the treasury would take a percentage of £X billion in the form of the Bankers' Bonuses Tax. It would be taken at source, so the bank itself would pay the tax. Of course the recipient of the bonus would then pay tax on the bonus as income as well. And we would be looking to set the rate of the Bankers' Bonus Tax at the top rate.

The Greens are also calling for the break-up of big banks into smaller enterprises "more responsive and accountable to the communities they serve."

See more at Billy's website here.

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