Saturday, 9 January 2010

Bonus time

After the government helped bail Banks out of their toxic investments with public money it seems like it's still just "business as usual" in the City and Wall Street.

The Guardian reports:

The world's biggest investment banks are expected to pay out more than $65bn (£40bn) in salaries and bonuses in the next two weeks, reinforcing the view that it is business as usual on Wall Street and in the City barely a year since the taxpayer bailout of the banking system.

Despite efforts by Alistair Darling to deter banks from handing out multi-million pound bonuses through the introduction of a 50% windfall tax, City sources believe that the biggest employers will absorb the cost of the tax rather than cut the size of the bonus pools they amass throughout the year.

This will mean that while proceeds from the tax could top £2bn – more than four times the £550m estimated by the chancellor in the pre-budget report – the government will have failed to alter the traditional bonus culture in the City.

Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, described the size of the potential bonuses as "global greed by banks when global governance has failed". He added: "Britain's bonus tax only toys with the symptoms of the sickness, not its cause. These last few investment banks left standing have state-backed licences to print money so they must pay supertax on their superprofits, not hold taxpayers to ransom."