Greens’ leader supports Billy Bragg campaign to bust bankers’ bonuses

The Green Party Leader this week gave her support to Billy Braggs call for bankers bonuses to be limited to a maximum of £25,000 but said that she would see this as a first step, and would want to propose to the next government that state-owned banks dont pay bonuses at all.

Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg launched an online campaign last month, called NoBonus4RBS, and has given speeches to gatherings near the RBS headquarters in Edinburgh and at Hyde Park corner, calling on the chancellor to implement a legal maximum bonus.

Caroline Lucas MEP, Leader of the Green Party, said today:

For bankers to continue to expect to be paid bonuses after the crisis of the past 18 months is extraordinary particularly in banks which are being propped up by the taxpayer. I agree with Billy Bragg: at the very least, and as a first step, I want to see the government limit the bonuses that are paid to employees of any wholly or partly state-owned banks to a maximum of £25,000.

I see no reason why any banker should expect a bonus of more than £25,000. Lets remember that were talking about a bonus on top of their wages, and theyre actually very well paid. A bonus of £25,000 is almost the national average wage, and a lot of people work very hard for a whole year to earn £25,000. So no banker should claim they deserve such a bonus on top of their wages.

The South East MEP, who has been tipped by successive opinion polls to be on course to win the Brighton Pavilion seat in the coming general election, added:

If Im elected to parliament in the coming general election, I shall fight hard for a fairer economy and to reduce inequality in Britain. And as part of that, I will fight against the culture of big bonuses for bankers.

See: for more details of Billy Bragg’s campaign.

It was also revealed this week that the Greens are likely to include a Bankers Bonuses Tax in their general election manifesto whereby the treasury would take a proportion of the total bonuses to be paid out. A spokesperson said, The proposal is that if a bank, whether state-owned or otherwise, announces its going to pay £X billion in bonuses, the treasury would take a percentage of £X billion in the form of the Bankers Bonuses Tax. It would be taken at source, so the bank itself would pay the tax. Of course the recipient of the bonus would then pay tax on the bonus as income as well.

The Greens will also propose the break-up of big banks into smaller enterprises more responsive and accountable to the communities they serve.


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