Category Archives: Banks

Which is more irresponsible – overspending billions of public pounds or ‘financial repression’?

Rishi Sunak: I like this shot because he looks nervous. If I was in his position, asking Tory backbenchers to raise taxes, I’d be nervous too.

Rishi Sunak has been accused of wasting billions of pounds of public money – your money – because he failed to insure against interest rate rises on government debt.

It means higher than necessary payments on £900bn of reserves created through the quantitative easing (QE) programme, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

The loss over the past year is around £11 billion, the think tank estimates.

The Treasury has retaliated by saying NIESR’s proposal would undermine the independence of the Bank of England and be “hugely damaging” to the credibility of how public finances are managed.

Not only that, but there is an argument that, even if the Treasury had been able to predict the rate rise (which is possible), it would have been a potentially expensive bet – taking chances with the system.

Really?

Read the arguments here – if you can make sense of them.

The question for us as laypeople is, what do we think is more irresponsible – damaging the credibility of the public finances by pressuring the Bank of England to take a particular action, or damaging the credibility of the public finances by wasting £11 billion?

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Why is the Bank of England trying to stop us spending when we’re already doing that?

The Bank of England: it seems, behind this imposing facade, there lurks a circus complete with clowns.

It seems the economists at the Bank of England don’t have much of a clue.

They say they have raised interest rates to make it more expensive for consumers and businesses to borrow, so people start spending less, helping cool demand for goods and services and, in turn, slowing the pace of price rises; it’s a bid to curb inflation.

But people are already reining in their spending, because of inflation!

So the interest rate increase is pointless. Right?

Furthermore, as people are choosing to save (where they can), rather than spend, the growth of the economy is slowing – which is what the interest rate rise aims to do anyway. So it isn’t needed.

In fact, it may throw the economy into reverse, sending us into a recession.

And economists have warned that increases in interest rates may have little effect given rising global oil and gas prices, over which domestic changes can have little effect.

So there seems to be only one possible reason for the Bank’s decision:

Insanity.

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Interest rates may rise by a quarter of a per cent. Don’t panic!

The Bank of England: it’s raising interest rates in what looks like another bonus for the super-rich – and penalty for the rest of us.

Yes, it seems interest rates are set to rise to their highest point in 13 years but for those of us with mortgages and loans to pay, it’s only likely to go up to one per cent.

It’s potentially good news for those of us with savings – and remember that such people are expected to use their savings to smooth over the cost-of-living increases that are being forced on us by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak – because it means we’ll have higher interest payments.

That’s if our savings last long enough for any interest to be recorded, of course. Otherwise it’s just another bonus for the super-rich.

The Bank of England is expected to increase its base interest rate to the highest level in 13 years in a bid to tackle inflation.

It is predicted to rise to 1% amid soaring food, energy and fuel prices that saw inflation hit a 30-year high of 7% in March.

Markets expect the bank rate to hit 1.25% later this year, going up to 1.5% by mid-2023.

There’s no explanation in the Sky News report (quoted above) of exactly how increasing interest rates will tackle inflation, so This Writer will believe it when I see it happen.

Source: Bank of England expected to raise interest rate to 13-year high to tackle inflation

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Rees-Mogg firm sold shares in Russian bank. Did it have insider knowledge?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: He doesn’t have a moustache to twirl villainously, so he had to adjust his glasses instead.

Isn’t this interesting? (And by “interesting” I mean deeply questionable and disturbing.)

Jacob Rees-Mogg is a partner in a company – Somerset Capital Management – that was criticised for investing £60 million in Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, after he called on then-UK prime minister Theresa May to impose tougher economic sanctions against Russia in the wake of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, back in 2018.

Sberbank had been under European Union sanctions since the Russian invasion of the Crimea in 2014.

But the investment seemed a good one at the time. In March 2018 its London-listed shares were understood to be worth four times what they had been worth in May 2015.

But then, 23 days ago – as the Russia-Ukraine crisis started to gain heat – Rees-Mogg’s firm sold its last shares in the bank, netting £44.5 million:

Rees-Mogg himself is not involved in SCM investment decisions – but he does receive money that the company earns from its investments.

And he has been criticised for maintaining shares in the bank while being involved in UK government policy decisions about Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

The fact that he was involved in these debates makes the company’s decision to divest itself of these shares… questionable, if not downright suspicious.

The value of the bank’s shares, we’re told, has halved since SCM sold what it had.

It might all have been above-board. Rees-Mogg may have had nothing to do with the decision to sell.

But we will never know. And that’s what makes this suspicious.

There is a clear conflict of interest that has gone undeclared, unremarked, and ignored.

As part of the most corrupt UK government in living memory – if not in history – we all think he’s entirely capable of passing on information from policy meetings for the purpose of his own enrichment.

And that undermines trust in the UK government and its decisions – as a whole. We cannot safely assume that our leaders’ choices are made solely in the national interest because we have reason to believe that they are acting for themselves.

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Has Sajid Javid ditched his extra-Parliamentary jobs or is he breaking the rules too?

Sajid Javid: look at that blank-eyed stare and ask yourself whether his appointment is good for the UK – or good for the banks who employed him?

Sajid Javid is going to have to try a lot harder if he wants us to think he can do the Health Secretary job better than Matt Hancock.

He has made a a ham-fist of it by trying to put down a vital question over conflict of interest between his new Cabinet role and his extra-Parliamentary jobs with JP Morgan bank and… who’s the other one with? – by failing to answer it.

In the Commons, Labour backbencher Richard Burgon asked – well, see for yourself, along with Javid’s ridiculous non-answer:

Yes, the Daily Express loved it, but that just shows the depths to which national journalistic standards have fallen.

It is perfectly reasonable to want to know whether a Cabinet minister is giving up jobs that might conflict with his duty to the nation.

I want to know if Javid is going to blab government secrets to JP Morgan and I want to know if he’s going to give away information – against the national interest – to his other employer.

That is, after all, the most likely reason they employed him.

He was warned by ACOBA – the Advisory Committee On Business Appointments – that there were “potential risks” that he could provide “privileged information” that would give his employer an unfair advantage over its competitors, in spring last year when he took the JP Morgan job.

ACOBA provided advice on how to avoid “potential risks” but it is easy to circumvent them. The only way to ensure that former ministers don’t blab is to forbid them from taking jobs until any information they had is out of date and useless.

Two years has been suggested as a reasonable period of delay but Javid took his jobs straight away and at the time of writing, the suggested period has still not expired.

It has been suggestted that Javid has already given up his outside jobs.

But if that’s true, where’s the evidence? We cannot rely on his say-so because he belongs to an organisation of liars, headed by a liar. We simply cannot trust him.

And that is the reason MPs – and commentators like This Site – are demanding full disclosure, as you can see from the following representative sample on Twitter:

Of course there are also serious questions to be answered about the decision to appoint Javid to the Health portfolio, considering his extremely shady history:

As far as his actual ability to do the Health Secretary job is concerned, Javid has already disgraced himself. But that’s another story…

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Tory Brexit has decimated the UK’s financial industry – and YOU will suffer the consequences

This is UK money: enjoy the sight of it because it is currently being turned into Euros and we are never likely to see as much of it again – and you have Boris Johnson and his Conservatives to blame.

Wow. Boris Johnson’s insistence on his silly Brexit deal has meant the one industry in which the UK remained a world leader – finance, is falling.

More than 440 financial firms have shifted thousands of jobs and £1 trillion of assets out of the UK and into the EU because of Brexit.

That’s about 10 per cent of the total assets held by the UK banking system – meaning that our banks have been decimated, according to the classical definition of the term (decimation, in army terms, was the killing of one in every ten of a group of people as a punishment for the whole group).

And worse is to follow, according to research from the New Financial think tank.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal didn’t cover financial services, you see. He relied on “blue sky” daydreaming that a separate deal could be reached with the EU. This dream has turned into a nightmare with the EU refusing to give ground.

7,400 jobs have moved from the UK to the EU – and are not likely to be replaced.

And the UK is set to lose much of its £26 billion annual financial trade surplus, meaning the nation’s balance of payments (the difference between profits from exports and payments for imports) is likely to slip much deeper into the red.

It’s further evidence of a bizarre Tory policy – to give all of the UK’s business assets to foreign firms and governments.

The privatisation of UK industry – begun under the Thatcher governments and continuing to this day – has taken ownership of firms away from the general public and placed it mostly in the hands of foreign organisations.

Firms run by the governments of EU countries now run most of our railways, water services, and (I seem to recall) power supplies. Now our banking services are set to atrophy.

And of course, it will be ordinary working-class UK citizens like you and This Writer who will suffer.

Businesspeople always pass the consequences of their failures down. That’s why Tories have been able to persuade so many voters that pay rises for the workers are a bad idea – the bosses would not forgo their profits to support them but would hike their prices instead.

With less cash coming into the UK via the banks, the ultra-rich parasites will be looking for new ways to suck money out of us.

The result will be the impoverishment of the UK. We will be a once-great nation destroyed by political midgets with over-inflated opinions of themselves.

Source: Banks and insurers move £1 trillion of assets out of UK due to Brexit | The Independent

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Board members of UK’s biggest finance firms have had nearly 80% pay rise since 2009

Nice work if you can get it!

And, indeed, if you think it actually qualifies as work.

Board members on the UK’s largest financial companies have enjoyed an average pay rise of 79 per cent since 2009.

This means that during the decade of austerity, while you were probably facing a pay freeze – meaning a real-terms drop in income, median pay for the three highest earning non-executive directors (NEDs) in each of the FTSE 100’s 17 financial firms surged from £90,700 in 2009 to £162,000 in 2019.

They received this for attending – just attending, not necessarily contributing to – an average of 26 meetings a year.

The largest increases have been at Lloyds Banking Group, where top NEDs are earning 257% more than in 2009; the London Stock Exchange Group, where there has been a 219% rise; and investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown, where fees have jumped 170%.

Remember, these firms don’t actually contribute anything to our lives – they don’t make anything, and such services as they do supply are highly exclusive.

They make money by betting on whether other businesses will do well or badly. That’s what investment is, after all – a wager that providing money to those firms now will bring a profitable return later.

It’s a game for the very rich.

And it depends on keeping the people who do the actual work very poor.

Payroll is always the largest cost to any firm so, if they are to provide an expected return to investors from firms like Lloyds Banking Group, the London Stock Exchange Group, Hargreaves Lansdown, Phoenix, Barclays, Prudential, Aviva, Admira, RSA, NatWest and so on, businesses have to keep pay low.

So these 79 per cent pay increases for finance firms arise from their board members attaching themselves to you like leeches and sucking out all the benefits that you should be enjoying.

Remember that as you endure the hardships you’ll be asked to face in 2021.

Source: UK’s biggest financial firms have given boards near-80% pay rise since 2009 | Business | The Guardian

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Did Johnson force Brexit on us just to maintain London’s status as the world’s financial crime centre?

Silent: did Boris Johnson force Brexit on us all, just to protect crooks in the City of London? If so, he’ll never admit it.

Beastrabban found this in conspiracist magazine Lobster, so take it as you like.

The claim is that Boris Johnson set his mind to return to the House of Commons after his term as London Mayor ended, purely to stop the European Union clamping down on the City and its role in money laundering and financial crime across the globe.

By taking the UK out of the EU, the theory states, he was preserving the City of London as the financial crime centre of the world’s economy.

The Beast points out that such a desire to protect the Tories’ city backers (as well, no doubt, as any financial criminals that might happen to be hanging around) “is going to wreck our manufacturing industry and agriculture, raise food prices, and create shortages of food, medicines and other goods”.

When you consider the kind of people with whom Johnson has been spending his free time recently, one has to wonder whether there might be a smidgen of fact to this…

Source: Did Boris Become PM and Back Brexit Just to Protect the City of London from EU Regulation? | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

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Why would JP Morgan have employed Javid if NOT to take advantage of his insider knowledge?

Javid: I wouldn’t trust him to keep any of the UK government’s secrets from his new employer.

It doesn’t surprise This Writer that Sajid Javid has taken advantage of the revolving door between big business and national governments, picking up a part-time job at JP Morgan.

This is a return to his banking career (although with a different bank) where, some will tell you, he helped cause the financial crisis that led to the downfall of Gordon Brown’s New Labour government and the rise of the Con-Dem ‘austerity’ coalition that caused so much further harm between 2010 and 2015.

A BBC article has kindly detailed advice to MPs on the “potential risks” of taking a second job while continuing to be a member of Parliament:

If a former minister wants to start a job less than two years after leaving their government role, they should first seek advice from ACOBA – the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

In its advice to Mr Javid, the committee warns that the former chancellor’s “privileged access to information” means accepting a job with JP Morgan carries “potential risks”.

“Privileged information” refers to official information a minister has gained as a result of their job, but which is not available to the public.

This privileged insight could give the MP’s employer – in Mr Javid’s case JP Morgan – an unfair advantage over their competitors.

Specifically, the committee points to his knowledge of “potentially at risk firms” and the government’s likely post-Brexit policies.

However, the committee says in its advice on Mr Javid’s new job that these risks are partly mitigated by the change in economic conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The information you had access to is unlikely to be significantly up to date given recent events, which will significantly impact the economic and political context,” the committee says.

Isn’t it precisely this “privileged information” that makes Javid valuable to his new employer?

ACOBA provides advice on avoiding “potential risks” including a prohibition on using privileged information about Brexit that was available to him while he was a minister, and on lobbying the government on JP Morgan’s behalf.

It is easy to circumvent these prohibitions.

He is permitted to advise on the impact of the coronavirus, the future direction of the EU, emerging markets and geopolitics – and as a sitting member of Parliament who was involved in whatever passes for long-term planning in a government under Boris Johnson, we can expect that information to justify the undoubtedly huge paycheque he’ll be drawing.

Let’s face it: this stinks.

There is only one way to ensure that former ministers do not give away privileged information to new employers in big business who are paying them huge fees.

That is to forbid them from ever taking such employment.

Source: Sajid Javid: Why has the ex-chancellor been allowed to work for JP Morgan? – BBC News

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Bank of England pumps £100bn into UK economy – but who gets the money?

Money: the Bank of England has pumped £100 billion into the UK economy to ease the strain caused by the Covid-19 crisis – but you won’t see a single penny of it. In fact, you are more likely to be asked to pay back the investment.

This is a wake-up call.

If you’ve seen reports that the Bank of England is bailing out the UK economy with £100 billion of what’s called QE (quantitative easing), you may have been lulled into a belief that everything’s going to be fine.

You would be mistaken.

The UK economy has taken a pounding because of the Covid-19 crisis. We are currently in the grip of an economic recession that makes the 2008/9 financial crisis look like the temporary misplacement of a back-pocket fiver.

In March, the economy shrank by around six per cent. In April, it shrank by a further 20.4 per cent. This Site doesn’t have numbers for May and June.

That meant 600,000 people lost their jobs between March and May. Many more found themselves suffering 20 per cent pay cuts as they were put on the government’s furlough scheme.

Employers were also put under extreme pressure as they have to pay what’s known as “overheads” – rent/mortgage on the land/buildings they use, power, supplies if they are perishable, and so on.

It is an established economic fact that money pumped into a financial system has a far more beneficial effect, if it goes to the poorest people – those who were hardest-hit by the current crisis, as they were by the financial crisis of 2008/9 before this.

They didn’t see a single penny of the QE that came into the economy after the recession of 11/12 years ago, and they won’t see a penny of the new £100 billion.

In fact, they’ll be told to pay back the cash that the government has provided for them, even though they’ve been given less than enough to survive comfortably as it is.

If This Writer recalls correctly, QE for the financial crisis went no further than the large financial institutions the Bank of England deals with on a day-to-day basis.

These would then lend the money to businesses and other organisations, with a view towards receiving the cash back – with interest – in the future.

The businesses then increase the prices of their goods while depressing the pay they give their workers.

Have you spotted the reason this won’t work?

Source: Coronavirus: Bank pumps £100bn into UK economy to aid recovery – BBC News

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