Bankers must pay more
The FT’s excellent Philip Stephens reaches the conclusion in the FT today that bankers will have to accept that they must contribute substantially more to the public purse before the public accept that justice has been done, and says that politicians will have to make sure that happens.
He says that banks are now being subsidised to the tune (according to the Bank of England) to the tune of £100 bn a year – mostly through the taxpayer funded safety net to prevent banks failing. Yet their annual tax bill is just £20 bn. Without that subsidy to the finance sector, the public finances would look a whole lot healthier, and the cuts would not need to be so fast or so deep. The Robin Hood Tax campaign has advocated a doubling of that current tax take, yielding a further £20 bn a year, which would still leave the finance sector over-subsidised and under-taxed.
As Stephens also makes clear, bank leaders’ hopes that it is ‘time to move on’ are not shared by the general public. As a poll in papers showed at the weekend, 80% think that the banks have not yet been targeted enough by government.