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Time to hug, not bash Bankers

Date: 04 February 2015

I am not sure what the two most emotive words are in the English language but my starter for ten has to be “Banker’s Bonus.”

Want to start a fight in a pub anywhere outside the M25? Simples- state your support for that most vilified and odious of creatures – the British Banker. No other industry sector has been more maligned. The demise of the British Bumblebee. Who to blame? Bankers. Shergar missing? Bankers. QPR’s poor form? Bankers. Your Nan’s dodgy hip? Why Bankers of course.

This has to stop.

In life we often “Never let the truth get in the way of a good headline or story” and might take what is spoon fed to us in the media. My personal view is most of the righteous anger stoked up can be traced to the doors of the politicians. With the stink generated by the corruption of Expenses-gate, even the most vilified of pantomime villains needs a dog to kick.

One of my maxims is to be “Hard on the facts and easy on the reasons.” Let’s look at some facts.

Despite the assertions of many a BBC Question Time rabble rouser, the vast majority of British Financial Services companies were not bailed out. To the contrary, I can only think of about five or six taxpayer funded interventions during the Crisis. Yes they were pretty big ones (too big to fail) however, with 67,000 Banking and Accounting firms registered in England and Wales 0.0104% bailouts is perhaps an interesting statistic.

Secondly “City champagne Charlies” 7% of our workers are employed in Financial Services and 48% are employed regionally north of Watford. Yes the City is key, so is Leeds, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh to name just a few.

The third fact – the one that I think people need to reflect on is simple. The UK is absolutely dependent on the output of Banking. It is our biggest GDP “earner” and generates the most income and corporation tax of any sector by a country mile. It is a glorious success story that our Society needs with c 13% to 17% of GDP coming from it (depending which data you use) and over 34% of tax receipts. Schools, hospitals, housing, and the £24,000 per year maximum benefits are, in large, funded by the long hours and hard work put in by British Bankers. And these people work hard. The longest hours, the least sick, the most job insecurity, and the most negativity.

Why am I writing this now? Four simple words: Office of National Statistics. Beneath my exterior of “Devil-May-Care” I am a bit of a geek. Check outhttp://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/awe/average-weekly-earnings/bonus-payents-in-great-britain--2013-2014/info-bonus-payments.html

Bankers’ bonuses are up and it is only a matter of time before the “Banker Bashing Open Season” is declared in play. My advice? Before you are tempted to throw the first verbal punch, who do you think is part funding your over-stretched A&E Department this Winter?

Personally- I say a massive thanks to the British Financial Services Sector- if the good times are coming back it means more investment in the NHS in my mind.

Funny how nobody would bash that.

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