Sir David Walker’s review of Corporate Government of the UK Banking Industry is, according to the Telegraph, set to introduce “the toughest pay regulations in the world”. The FT reports that Sir David will say that remuneration for those earning more than £1m must be disclosed; half the bonuses paid to employees should be deferred for three to five years; and that non-executive directors should be given more responsibility for pay and risk. The Guardian reports that Alistair Darling will call major investors to the Treasury to demand compliance. But Lib Dem shadow chancellor, Vince Cable, said the report made “a few small steps towards transparency” but nothing like enough. Meanwhile, the Times cites a “double boost” for Britain’s bankers as Walker stopped short of draconian plans to name hundreds of the highest-paid bankers, and the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the banks on overdraft charges.
The Independent claims “Gordon Brown was accused of strangling the inquiry into the Iraq war at birth yesterday by refusing to let it make public sensitive documents”. At the inquiry, Tim Dowse, the Foreign Office’s head of counter-proliferation at the time, said that in 2001 the threat from Iraq had been placed behind those from Iran, Libya and North Korea, say the Times. The Guardian reports that days before the invasion of Iraq, the British government received intelligence that Saddam Hussein might be unable to use his chemical weapons. Meanwhile, Sir Richard Dearlove, former chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, said the government had failed to properly explain why Britain was at war with Afghanistan, and had until recently given only “half-hearted” endorsement to its strategy.
The FT report that the Conservative lead over Labour on the issue of most trusted to get value for public money has fallen from 15 points in June to 7 points now. Forty-three per cent agree spending needs to be cut but 44 per cent still disagree – a net balance of 1 percentage point who disagree against a gap of 11 points in June. Just over half – 53 per cent – want spending maintained even if that means higher taxes.
Westminster will cut the UK rate of income tax by 10p in Scotland, alongside a corresponding cut in Holyrood’s share of public spending. This will require Holyrood to impose a Scottish income tax of 10p if it wants its budget to remain unchanged. But according to the Guardian, an alliance between Gordon Brown and David Cameron on the plans has fallen through. The Tories said they would publish their own proposals at some point after the general election.
The Independent publish details of donations to political parties. The Conservatives received £5,269,186 between July and September, compared with £3,045,377 given to Labour and £816,663 to the Liberal Democrats. Fifteen other parties received £401,372 between them. The largest personal gift was from Michael Farmer, a hedge fund manager, to the Tories while the largest “gift in kind” was £91,900 through Lord Ashcroft’s company, Bearwood Corporate Services. The majority of Labour’s donations came from the trade unions. The Telegraph report that celebrity Tory donors include Trudie Styler, wife of Sting, Carol Vorderman, and the rock star Bryan Ferry.
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