Bankers deliver a massive f**k you to everyone hit by the cost of living crisis

Bankers represented by the city of London
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In news that will anger a lot of people, banks look set to give their staff the biggest bonuses since the 2007-08 financial crash. At a time when the rest of us face a huge cost of living crisis, the banks’ actions will probably turn your stomach.

Bankers: laughing all the way to the…

The Guardian reported on bankers’ bonuses and pay. It noted that:

  • Mergers and acquisitions bankers got fees of £2.6bn in 2021. These bankers advise on company mergers.
  • HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest are “expected” to say they’re paying out £4bn in bonuses.
  • 3,519 UK bankers earned more than £835,000 in 2021.
  • NatWest is expected to announce £4bn in profit for 2021 – while the public still own over 50% of it.
  • Overall, banks profits are expected to be £34bn – the highest since 2007.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are in the shit.

A crisis for the rest of us

As The Canary previously reported, the UK is facing its biggest cost of living crisis in recent years:

  • 2.5 million families are struggling to pay rent and heat their homes.
  • 15% of households live in food insecurity.
  • 4% of households have used a foodbank.

In the coming months, things will get worse:

  • The Department for Work and Pensions is making a real terms cut to people’s social security.
  • Inflation is predicted to hit 7%.
  • Energy companies are putting prices up by over £600 a year.
  • The Tories are hiking national insurance by over 10%.
  • Over two million people could be destitute – the most extreme form of poverty.

Of course, all this comes after a decade of austerity – one which the bankers caused.

A decade of chaos

Successive governments cut 14% of all public sector spending in the last decade. This hit people reliant on social security particularly hard. Because Tory reform of the Department for Work and Pensions in 2016 led to policies like the:

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  • Benefit cap: £1.62bn cut.
  • Benefit freeze: £10.2bn cut; 30% of households saw a reduction in money.
  • Two child limit: £5.35bn cut, affecting 3.8 million families.
  • “Abolition of £30 a week support for disabled people who were unfit for work (ESA WRAG)”: £1.365bn cut, affecting half a million disabled and sick people.

But clearly, none of this matters to the richest people in the UK. Because while bankers are getting huge bonuses, the Tories also recently gave the banks a tax cut. It shows that shocking inequality still exists in the UK. And it also shows that our country is still one of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.

Featured image via DAVID ILIFF – Wikimedia, license: CC BY-SA 3.0

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  • Show Comments
    1. Whenever I notice there are even fewer tellers serving the usual long line of customers at my bank, I muse as to whether it is indicative that the financial institution’s most recent (already bloated) quarterly profit was even more lavish than normal. I’m just being cynical? Not really; after all, the more we make, all the more we want to make in the next quarterly earnings report.

      When I notice there are even fewer tellers serving the usual long line of customers at my bank, I muse as to whether it is indicative that the financial institution’s most recent (already bloated) quarterly profit was even more lavish than normal.
      And I’m not just being cynical. After all, the more we humans make, all the more we want to make next time; and I can easily imagine amoral mega-bank (and other big business) corporate culture being at least as bad as the average-Joe greed.

      Still, there must be a point at which the status quo — where already large corporate profits are maintained or increased while many people are denied even basic shelter/income — can/will end up hurting big business’s own monetary interests. I can imagine that a healthy, strong and large consumer base — and not just very wealthy consumers — are needed.

      Or could it be that, generally speaking, the unlimited profit objective/nature is somehow irresistible, including the willingness to simultaneously allow an already squeezed consumer base to continue so — or even squeezed further? It brings to mind the allegorical fox stung by the instinct-abiding scorpion while ferrying it across the river, leaving both to drown.

      When it comes to unhindered capitalism, I can see corporate CEOs shrugging their shoulders and defensively saying that their job is to protect shareholders’ bottom-line interests. The shareholders, meanwhile, also shrug their shoulders, defensively stating they just collect the dividends and that the CEOs are the ones to make the moral and/or ethical decisions.

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