LETTER: Let banks repay taxpayers before handing out bonuses

I WRITE in response to G. Metcalfe’s letter (“Football crazy”). I feel that though he did not appear to be disagreeing with Sue Nike, he fundamentally missed the point.

While there is no question some of the salaries paid in the world of football are excessive and the morality of some footballers and pundits is questionable, as far as I am aware there has not been one single footballer or pundit who has recklessly gambled somebody else’s money then gone cap in hand to the British taxpayer to seek money to cover such losses.

It is also true, as with some bankers, footballers receive bonuses on top of their salary, but these are usually called win bonuses, and the clue is in the title. While Mr Metcalfe may disagree with the bonus culture within football, these bonuses are usually only paid for winning.

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I think the point Ms Nike was raising was in relation to a bank which is 84% owned by British taxpayers, who are still owed some £45 billion, and which posts a £2 billion loss. How can it be morally justifiable to still pay vast sums of monies in bonus payments even when making a loss?

The way I see it is that when the banks that required taxpayer bailouts have repaid the taxpayer in full, then they are entitled to pay what salaries and bonuses they like, even if they are excessive.

That is certainly the case with HSBC who this week announced profits of £13.8 billion with a bonus pool of £2.64 billion, but importantly never received one penny from the British taxpayer.

Finally, Mr Metcalfe mentioned the large sums that Tony Blair is now earning, which he claimed are virtually tax free. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to verify this claim either way.

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I do, however, note he failed to point out that Gordon Brown has earned £1.4 million from public speaking since leaving his post as Prime Minister, all of which has gone to charity, via the foundation that was set up by himself and his wife Sarah.

While there are some who questioned his policies while in office, I doubt there are many who could question which direction his moral compass is pointing.


Hollin Fold, Blacko