Saturday, 24 October 2009

"Learn to tolerate inequality"

So said Lord Griffiths , Vice Chair of Goldman Sachs. And Angela Knight of the British Bankers Association advises us all to " move on " over bonuses. I guess these people don't bother with PR Departments ? And I suppose its refreshing to know that they feel no need to spin their views. If only we could " move on ". As taxpayers we will be paying the price of the mega bucks poured into the Banks for decades. The NIESR say that to correct the deficit we need a 7p income tax rise, retirement at 70 and a 5 year pay freeze. Oh Angela, I do so wish we could just " move on ".

And for us in the third sector , facing cuts in our support , we and our beneficiaries will be bearing the brunt of the failures of bankers. So forgive me if I feel that the way the Banks have rushed back to bad old habits is gut wrenching. I hope we don't "move on" because to do so would allow those who are guilty of plunging our economy into recession will not just escape scot free, but continue to be rewarded for bad behaviour. Of course there is nothing wrong with rewards for performance- bonuses are a way to do this. But the eye watering sums currently talked about could hardly be said to reward performance?

At least Obama has got it right. And I like Polly Toynbee's article today in the Guardian when she reminds us of a war time " excess profits" tax that prevented profiteering. As an illustration of what we may face in our sector I pass on an email I received form one of my members yesterday." Just to make you aware of the wide ranging cuts being imposed on the prison service. 6% in many cases. The prisons' answer has been in many cases to look at cutting all offending work and programmes provided by third sector organisations.This means a total rethink of drug policies and targets - in other words not doing any testing, so not worrying about drugs being taken. A complete rethink on re- offending targets - in other words not trying to meet any. We provide an accredited programme in several prisons to reduce reoffending- hard external research showing big reductions in re-offending and have figures showing huge costs both to the prison service and the tax payer, by reductions in return to prison but also by re-offending costs in the community.

There is a huge round of cuts currently being made. It is not just us that will be affected but many other third sector providers. It is total lunacy as the end result will be greater costs to the Prison Service all round as more re-offend back into custody and new prisons and more places have to be found for an even greater prison population. " Perhaps Angela Knight might care to consider how we might " move on " here. I'm happy to arrange an opportunity for her to discuss her views with members. Might be a useful opportunity for both sides.

3 comments:

Brian Mairs said...

British Bankers' Association here. We see you watch Have I Got News For You then. But Angela didn't quite say what was attributed to her. The quote comes in an article for the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/angela-knight-bonuses-did-not-cause-the-crunch-time-to-move-on-1802769.html") where the term was used in the headline (not written by us) and not in the article.

The article explains that the UK's major banks have already done much more than their international competitors to assuage the understandable public anger at reported bonus payments. And it also said there are many other matters - principally around the capital they have to hold - which will have a much greater immediate impact on how quickly banks can help to secure the economic recovery.

The public debate will move on when it's good and ready - we ask for no more and hope for a fair hearing. Our point was that although bonuses are the defining issue of the financial crisis, they are not the only issue, and we are working very hard on those other issues too.

Stephen Bubb said...

Thank you for clarifying this. Yes, you are right I did watch,
"Have I got news for you" so I'm grateful for you pointing out its a distortion of what was said. And useful to see the original article. I should have known better than to take as my news source a comedy programme that specialises in irony. Though it was a good one I thought!! But there remains the more useful point of Angela coming to speak to some of my members. If you do want your case made then you will need to convince people like third sector CEOs and me. As the sector with the highest trust rating (after doctors )you need us!! So my offer stands. Happy to organise. Stephen Bubb

Rick Holland CFRE said...

Good to see the dialogue happening here on Bubb's Blog, and I'm certainly interested in doing what I can to further the discussion between the banking and third sectors.

We do indeed 'need' each other, so let's talk about how we can work together.

Rick Holland CFRE
Chief Executive, Charity Employees Benevolent Fund, and Director, Confident Philanthropy Ltd.