The government has to ensure fairness and reform our banks – my Daily Mirror article

Our economy is flatlining, millions of working people are having their tax credits cut and bank lending to small firms is down. It’s no wonder families, pensioners and businesses are angry about the latest bumper bank bonuses.

There should be fair rewards for performance. But these huge bonuses are bound to cause concern following the mis-selling and interest rate fixing scandals exposed in recent months.

I want the banks to succeed – so that taxpayers get their money back, consumers get a good deal and small businesses get the loans they need to grow. But we need to reform our banks so they work for the long-term interests of the economy.

First, we should repeat Labour’s tax on bank bonuses to fund a guaranteed job for young people out of work for a year or more. This is part of Labour’s jobs plan which includes building thousands more affordable homes and a temporary VAT cut to put money back into people’s pockets and help our struggling high streets.

Second, David Cameron and George Osborne should cancel their £3billion tax cut for the richest people in the country, which will mean an even more lucrative bonus round for bankers next year. It cannot be right to give millionaires a tax cut while millions on middle and low incomes are forced to pay more.

Third, the government should put into effect the law Labour passed to force banks to reveal how many people they pay more than £1million.

Finally, the Chancellor should not be watering down the tough and radical reforms to protect high street banks from risky investment banking, which the independent banking commission proposed.

The banks must lead and act in a responsible way. But the government also has to ensure fairness and reform our banks. It’s time they acted.

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Posted January 30th, 2013 by Ed