From the TUC

I smell a bank PR campaign

18 Feb 2010, by in Economics

On Tuesday I responded to a Times piece that effectively said that the only cost to the UK of the bank crash was the money spent rescuing RBS, Lloyds and Northern Rock.

Yesterday the same argument appeared in the Guardian in an anonymous article by a “banker”, headlined “not all bankers are fat cats”. Nowhere in the article does this “banker” say exactly what he does in banking.

The most important part of the article said:

… the figure Alistair Darling put aside in his recent pre-budget report to cover costs relating to the bailout. His latest estimate is that the cost to the taxpayer of propping up the financial services sector will be no more than £10bn.

Once again the costs of putting right the wider damage caused by a bank-induced recession are left out of the equation.

I suppose this synchronicity could be a coincidence …

Much of the rest of the article was a besides-the-point demolition of a straw man.

There is public anger at bankers, but I don’t think most people consider people who work in bank call-centres or behind the counter at their local branch – if they still have one – to be bankers.

And if Mr Banker was that concerned with the plight of the many ordinary people doing ordinary jobs in banks he might have shown some more understanding of their complaints, such as the pressure on them to sell inappropriate products on commission to make up for their poor basic pay.

The main bank staff union Unite is backing the campaign for a Robin Hood tax, as are other finance unions and the international union organisation that groups finance workers.