David Blackburn

God stand up for bankers

God stand up for bankers
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He’ll have to because nobody else will. As Robert Peston says ‘Poor RBS, poor Britain’ – today’s figures are catastrophic. Peston’s been digging and the news gets worse:

‘But perhaps the most chilling numbers are these: we as taxpayers put in £25.5bn of new equity into this bank last autumn, the second instalment of the £45.5bn we have invested in total; but over the past year, the equity of this bank has increased by less than £16bn to £80bn.

So almost £10bn of the £25.5bn we've only just put into RBS has already been wiped out by losses.

Which, I think, is probably the best measure of the degree to which RBS is still haemorrhaging.’

Pete is dead right that this detracts from ensuring these disasters are not repeated. The three main parties have all made the refrain ‘no reward for failure’ but have done nothing; parliament has been largely supine before the Masters of the Universe. I’ve long defended bonuses and yes, many of my best friends are bankers. But even my patience is exhausted.

£1.3bn in payouts is unacceptable against £3.6bn in operating losses and the wipe out of nearly 40 percent of taxpayers’ input. It is an unfair question because Goodwin cast his mark of incompetence far and wide, but is the talent at RBS worth retaining? And whilst I'm on the subject, enjoy the RBS Six Nations tomorrow. Shakespeare observed in The Merchant of Venice that the quality of mercy ‘blesseth him that gives and him that takes’. Not any more it doesn’t.