David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed over fat cat pay, bankers’ bonuses and banking regulation at a story Prime Minister’s Questions today, reports Shamik Das.
David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed over executive pay, bankers’ bonuses and banking regulation at a story Prime Minister’s Questions today, with both men stressing they are on the side of the squeezed many not the fat cat few – a fight between the Cabinet of the one per cent and Labour from which, you would think, there would only ever be one winner.
Cameron tried to pin the blame for corporate greed and bankers’ recklessness on the previous government, wait for it, because Labour, he said:
“…completely failed to regulate year after year.”
Yes, that’s the same David Cameron, who alongside George Osborne, were pressing that same government to deregulate further, complaining Labour were being too tough on the City – a point Miliband failed to mention.
On reining in the bankers, Cameron cited the coalition’s introduction of the bank levy, which, according to the OBR’s own figures will bring in only £1.2 billion (down from an initial estimate of £3.9bn) when you include the £100m corporation tax cut the banks will receive in 2011/12; this compares to the £3.5bn the Labour government raised last year from the tax on bankers’ bonuses – another point missed by Miliband.
Cameron even had the chutzpah to quote the Archbishop of Canterbury, and claim he agreed with him – yet no mention of the Financial Transaction Tax, which Dr Rowan Williams came out in support of today; no mention of Cameron and Osborne’s opposition to the FTT, Osborne this morning saying “the necessary international consensus does not exist” and the FTT model “offers an efficient mechanism to raise revenue” – another chance to speak with the 99% missed by Miliband.
On Cameron’s final jibe, however, that “the Labour party’s hired a former tax exile to run their election campaign”, there was no time for a comeback – no chance to shout “Ashcroft!”. Yet again, the PM appears to have escaped intact, failing to answer the questions, but grinning, sneering his way through and getting away with it.
Till next week…
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• As top pay soars, the 99% are left behind – Will Straw, October 28th 2011
• All in it together, eh Gideon? FTSE fat cats see pay rocket 50 per cent – Shamik Das, October 28th 2011
• Osborne’s bank levy: The desperate action of a desperate chancellor – Ben Fox, February 8th 2011
• Miliband: “Tories were encouraging us to deregulate further” – Claire French, February 4th 2011
• Now the coalition wants to cut its meagre bank levy – Ben Fox, November 15th 2010