'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Saturday 14 July 2012

Oh Dear, I've upset Neil Monnery AND I'm an idiot.

One of the perils of blogging and social media is you occasionally bash something out without thinking about it properly, and the next thing you know, someone's written a blogpost that gets to  the top of the Golden Dozen pointing out you're an idiot.


So first, here's the offending RT and tweet I sent last week that so annoyed Neil.

These have not gone down well with Neil ( and not just because of my spelling mistakes) who makes some excellent points. So let me clarify..

I agree that the Financial Services sector is of vital importance to the UK economy. It is the largest individual sector in the economy (interestingly, the second largest is my own, the creative services industry) and in addition we are world class at it.

I would like it to stay that way and I have no desire for talented individuals who are creating large amounts of wealth for the country - I believe City firms paid around £60 billion in Corporation Tax last year - to be forced out.

That would be nuts.

But I don't think the City is perfect. I think it needs large scale reform, as outlined by Vince Cable in several places in the last week. I wish the Libor Parliamentary Inquiry was a full Judicial inquiry and indeed already it seems rather flawed.

I have heard that 58% of all money used for Quantitative Easing has finished, not being loaned to businesses, but on the balance sheets of the banks themselves. 

And 10 days ago Andrew Neil tweeted this...

..which suggests to me that something has gone a tad skew whiff on the whole area of executive pay - which what was behind my tweet. Indeed I can call an expert witness on this very point: er, Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Mr Bob Diamond..

Last year Bob Diamond introduced a 'no jerk' rule at Barclays, whereby anyone who didn't fit in with the culture would be fired, no matter how much they earned. Which, as David Mitchell put it, begs this question..

"The Barclays bank boss has suggested that his executives are easily replaceable. If that's true, why do they get paid so much?"

So in summary.

I am all for financial services

There are many good people working there who do this country a great service

But there's a lot wrong in the system

Some bankers get paid too much. 

And they're not irreplaceable.

Hope that's clear.


  1. Get a grip, Richard. Neil's rather easily upset, so don't encourage him. I don't, and I'm married to his other target.

    If he's seen in these parts though...

  2. Thanks Mark

    I now have a vision of you Client Eastwood like patrolling the streets of Creeting St Peter, tumbleweed blowing down the High Street, as mothers usher small children inside...

    where's Sergio Leone when you need him.... :-)

  3. Oh, it wouldn't be me, it would be the ex-Army head of our Neighbourhood Watch. He's properly scary.

    I'm responsible for finance and wildlife, not policing... :)

  4. Hi Richard,
    An important point this - the 'over £60 billion in corporation tax' figure that Cameron likes to parrot at PMQs is unfortunately just wrong. Last year (tax year 2010/2011) the financial services industry paid £63bn in taxes BUT corporation tax by the financial services industry was just £7.2bn, down 40% from 2007. Banks themselves paid £3.5bn of this, down 52% from 2007. Meanwhile, Alistair Darling's one-off tax on bonuses brought in £3.4bn. The 1.1m people employed in financial services – almost 4% of the total workforce – generated £29.2bn of the total tax paid.

    The sector pays about the same in corporation tax relative to North Sea oil companies but less than half paid by industrial and commercial firms.

  5. Thanks Felix, I have been looking for a handy breakdown like this - I suspected the 60bn + figure included personal taxes of employees but the only reference I could find (a quote defending bankers) specifically mentioned corporation tax.

    Can I ask - there is a hole still isn't there? 29.2+7.2 +bankers bonus is some way short of the 60. Do you know where the other amount comes from

    1. Hi Richard,
      full breakdown here:

    2. The difference between the figures I gave and the total is, I think, VAT