Category Archives: Banks

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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Bank’s Universal Credit delay means dilemma for single mum

This is the problem with a benefit that puts people too close to starvation.

When a fault at Clydesdale Bank meant her £410 Universal Credit payment was delayed by up to a week, single mum Megan Devine, of Glasgow, was left with no money to feed herself and her baby daughter Mairead, or to heat their home.

Her family can’t help as they don’t have any money to spare either.

It’s the kind of cock-up that puts lives at risk – for no reason.

Some might question how an 18-year-old woman has managed to get into such a situation in the first place – but it is not our place to sit in judgement on others. We don’t know the circumstances.

All we know is that the Tory-run system has failed another person in need, and the consequences could be catastrophic.

Source: Single mum left with £0 to feed baby daughter after bank causes Universal Credit delay – Mirror Online

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Turing beats Thatcher (and others) to be the new face on the back of the £50 note

Yes! A victory for good sense at last!

Computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing will feature on the new design of the Bank of England’s £50 note.

He is celebrated for his code-cracking work that proved vital to the Allies in World War Two.

The final decision was made by Bank of England governor Mark Carney. He said:

“Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today.

“As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as a war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

Among the other suggestions was former prime minister and bete noir of recent UK history, Margaret Thatcher, who was included in a shortlist of scientists for her work helping devise a way to inject air into ice cream, to make it seem there’s more of it than there actually is.

As I wrote a few months ago, “she used science to create a commercial cheat that would induce people to pay more for less.”

What a relief that Mr Carney ignored the easy political choice and instead lionised a man who was treated appallingly by the nation he helped save.

Convicted of homosexuality (it was a crime in those days), Alan Turing was ordered to take drugs that dulled his mind. The mental torment thise generated drove him to commit suicide.

We will never know what advances the UK lost as a result of the unreasonable prejudice and hatred of those primitive times. But at least this gesture goes some way towards acknowledging the debt we owe this late genius.

Source: New face of the Bank of England’s £50 note is revealed – BBC News

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Labour would halt RBS privatisation – in return for investment

 

This looks like Labour’s plan for a national investment bank, writ smaller.

A Labour government would halt privatisation because it would not profit the state. This makes perfect sense – far more than the current Tory plan to sell to the rich at a loss for the poor.

But the offer is only to delay continued privatisation of RBS – and only if the bank commits itself to lending money to the regions, and to small businesses.

For This Writer, it is not enough. RBS played a large part in the financial crisis of 2008 and it would be fitting if that bank were kept in public ownership and made to put right the damage it caused.

Put the Tories in Labour’s place, with a similar kind of offer, and I’d be calling them liars. History shows that Conservatives will say what they think others want to hear, to get them on-side. Then they renege on the deal.

I wouldn’t mind at all if Labour reneged on this one and turned RBS into a part of – or the basis of – the National Investment Bank in the party’s manifesto.

But Labour is not the Conservative Party and I have a feeling this is a sincere offer. But will the RBS bankers – and their shareholders – share my belief?

[The] Labour party would halt the privatisation of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) if it came to power but would not seek to exert day-to-day control, the opposition party’s shadow banking minister told Reuters.

RBS shareholders voted on Wednesday to approve the bank’s plans to begin buying back its shares from the government in order to accelerate a return to majority private ownership, with more than 98 percent backing the proposal.

RBS remains 62 percent owned by British taxpayers after a £45 billion bailout in the 2008 financial crisis, although the Conservative government has conducted two share sales as it looks to return it to private ownership.

The government’s two RBS equity sales so far have crystallised deep losses for British taxpayers on shares that have almost halved in value since the bank’s rescue.

“If RBS is now paying dividends, and the price of the shares is under what was paid, we cannot see the rationale for selling more shares,” said Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds.

Having previously suggested full nationalization of RBS, Labour has been rowing back as it seeks to build bridges to the City of London and ease concerns about a Labour-led Britain.

The extent of state involvement would depend on RBS’ willingness to increase lending to Britain’s regions and small businesses.

“We don’t have a policy of day-to-day control of RBS,” he said. “But there is clearly unmet demand in lending and a problem with financial inclusion.”

Source: Britain’s Labour says it would halt RBS privatization


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Would YOU accept a £50 note with Margaret Thatcher’s face on it? [POLL]

Horror: An artist’s impression of how a Thatcher-themed £50 note might appear.

It seems the competition to be the face on the back of the new £50 note has come down to contenders including Stephen Hawking and Margaret Thatcher.

According to the Bank of England, the intention is for the space to be occupied by a scientist.

The late Professor Hawking certainly qualifies.

But you could be forgiven for wondering what Mrs Thatcher’s contribution may have been.

Curious: It seems Facebook won’t accept the image at the top of this article for use in links to it. Will it accept this one?

I’ll tell you: She was part of a team who devised a way of injecting air into ice cream to make it look like there is more of it than there actually is – she used science to create a commercial cheat that would induce people to pay more for less.

I recall Alan Turing was in the running for this honour at one point. Why has a cheat like Mrs Thatcher been shortlisted, while a man who (arguably) shortened World War II by several years has not?

It seems strange reasoning by the Bank of England.

And I wonder how many people would want to use a banknote with the former – and much-hated – Conservative prime minister on it? Some might consider her image to be defacing the currency.

What do you think?

Personally, I wouldn’t have such an item in my house.

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Whose face do you want on the back of the £50 note: Alan Turing? Or Margaret Thatcher?

Alan Turing or Margaret Thatcher: One deserves recognition and commemoration and the other doesn’t. Which is which?

One was a war hero; the other started a war to keep herself in power.

Now both are in contention to be the face on the back of the new £50 note.

Who would you prefer to see there – Alan Turing or Margaret Thatcher?

How about some information to help you decide?

Alan Turing, often hailed as the grandfather of modern computing, was a mathematical genius who cracked the German Enigma coding machine while working at Bletchley Park during World War II.

He is widely believed to have been responsible for ending the war years earlier than would otherwise have been the case and it would be right, therefore, to consider him one of that conflict’s greatest heroes.

But he was gay in a time when homosexuality was outlawed. Convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952, he was chemically castrated, barred from working for GCHQ, and driven to suicide.

It wasn’t until December 2013 – nearly 60 years since his death – that the UK government saw fit to pardon him for the injustice he suffered under the primitive and barbaric regime that was the UK in the 1950s.

If Turing was famous for helping end a war, Margaret Thatcher is best known for starting them.

It is widely believed that she stoked hostilities with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in order to start a conflict that might boost her popularity with the voting public and earn her a second term as prime minister.

During that term, she persecuted mine workers into a year-long strike, in which she used police as weapons against defenceless people who were standing up for their livelihoods against an uncaring and barbaric regime:

In her spare time she used the threat of AIDS to persecute lesbians and gay people.

Oh, but wait! She was a scientist too! Apparently the Bank of England has decided that a scientist will go on the back of the £50 note, and the late Baroness Thatcher qualifies.

Want to know what her contribution was?

Typical Tory – she used science to create a commercial cheat that would induce people to pay more for less.

So the choice is between a member of a persecuted minority who created modern computing while trying to end a war, and a principle persecutor of that minority who perverted science to make money and started wars for her own selfish reasons.

Who do you think will get the gig?

The choice will speak volumes about the priorities of the country’s leaders.

Of course, there’s still a chance that a random choice will win…

https://twitter.com/BrexitRaab/status/1067173803556569088

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Theresa May asked Labour supporters to look at her government afresh. They found a stain on their country

“We’ve had a so-called ‘Iron Lady’, but this one’s brass is tarnished beyond control.”

That was just one of the responses to Theresa May’s brazen (see what I did there?) bid to entice disenchanted Labour voters into the clutches of the Conservatives, with the complicity of the formerly left-wing Guardian/Observer. I’m guessing she thought people who believe those papers are still left-wing would be fooled.

That doesn’t seem to have worked out too well for her!

In her begging letter published by the paper, she wrote (reproduced from May’s Facebook page – if you aren’t boycotting the Guardian/Observer, you’re part of the problem):

“I believe that the principles that guide us – security for families and the country, freedom under the rule of law and opportunity for everyone – can unite our people and help build a better future for our country.”

She claimed this meant getting “the best Brexit deal for Britain, one that protects jobs and rights and makes the most of the opportunities that Brexit brings, to play a more global role, while also delivering on the domestic issues that matter to people here at home.

“We are investing in our NHS, to secure it for the future. We are driving up standards in our schools, so every child can get a good start in life. And, 10 years on from the financial crash, we are building an economy that works for everyone in our society.

“These are our Conservative solutions that will build a country that works for everyone: fixing markets, not destroying them; helping with the cost of living; ending austerity; building an economy of the future which benefits the whole country.”

And she couldn’t resist making a swipe at Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party – getting it into the second paragraph of her begging letter: “Millions of people who have supported Labour all their lives are appalled by what has happened to a once-great party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Antisemitism has grown, the party’s response to threats to our country’s security has become equivocal, and moderate Labour MPs have become targets for deselection and harassment. These are all alien to Labour’s best traditions.”

Theresa May wouldn’t know any “best traditions” if they had been drilled into her by her priestly father, of course.

On Twitter, she wrote:

“I want” doesn’t get, of course – and the responses online have shown that her bid for acceptance by the people of the country has flopped badly.

The people of the UK told Mrs May in no uncertain terms that her NHS privatisation policies were a disaster for those who needed its help, with waiting times at Accident & Emergency departments now so long that people had died before being seen by a doctor.

They pointed out that NHS trials of drugs that could help the British people were being halted, and that nurses were quitting, because of Brexit.

They denied her claim to be investing in schools, pointing out that teachers have had to appeal to parents for the cost of the pens that pupils need to write down their work. It has also been revealed that a teachers’ pay rise cannot be fully funded by the cash Mrs May has provided, meaning schools must force some staff out of their jobs in order to pay others – or cut the number of hours their teachers work.

They mocked her party’s economic ineptitude, pointing at low growth, the weakness of the Pound, high inflation, low wages and the fact that millions of people now have less than £100 in savings.

They said they were not fooled by her plan for social housing as Conservative policies have forced thousands of families out of their homes – many of them with nowhere to go but the streets, and highlighted the fact that rents were so high that many people had been forced to move away from their communities.

They reminded her that her idea of help with the cost of living, for people who are out of work, sick or disabled, is to slash value of benefits to the point where people fall into debt and despair, with knock-on effects on their mental health that may lead to suicide attempts. Many thousands of people have died.

They pointed out that her idea of help with the cost of living, for women aged in their 60s who have been denied a pension for six years because of Conservative policies, was to become apprentices (if they could get any firm to take them on at that age).

And they said her idea of help with the cost of living, even for people in work, was to send them to a food bank.

They said her foreign policy in general – and Brexit in particular – had made her government an international laughing-stock.

And as for protecting jobs and rights – they pointed at her racist “hostile environment” policy and the effect it had on the Windrush generation. The obvious question is: Who’ll be next to feel the Tory pinch?

They pointed out that racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are rife in the Conservative Party.

And they raised the issue of burning injustices (remember Mrs May’s promise to end those) that she had not mentioned:

  • The fact that she had bribed the Democratic Unionist Power to help her stay in office after she threw away her Parliamentary majority in the 2017 general election.
  • The fact that she had cut police numbers by more than 20,000, leading to a catastrophic crimewave.
  • The fact that her government had managed to avoid prosecutions in scandal after scandal.
  • And the fact that she had lied – again – when she said austerity was over at this year’s Conservative Party Conference; more cuts are on the way and she has absolutely no intention to restore funding for essential services.

They summed it all up by saying they had taken her advice and looked at her government afresh…

And all that they found was a stain on the nation.

See for yourself. Here is just a sample of the responses she received:

https://twitter.com/Kimmari88214930/status/1048875339802402818

https://twitter.com/GRANNYMUGGER/status/1048876864876564481

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Why are poor taxpayers being told to subsidise Carillion’s contractors?

Carillion owed huge sums when it went into liquidation in January [Image: Joe Giddens/PA].

It must be lovely, being an executive or shareholder at a big corporation like Carillion – knowing that you can siphon off as much cash as you want and when your firm goes under, the poor will bail you out.

Hundreds of millions of pounds went into executive/shareholder bank accounts in the years when Carillion was under-bidding for government contracts.

That was public money; it should have been used to provide services, not bolster some businessman’s bank balance.

And now public money is being used to underwrite loans to the contractors Carillion betrayed.

As far as This Writer can see, Carillion’s executives and shareholders committed fraud by under-bidding for contracts; they knew they couldn’t honour those contracts at those prices, and were hoping that the funds for future contracts would pay off their liabilities.

It was like a pyramid selling scheme; sooner or later it was bound to collapse.

Well, unless Her Majesty’s Government and everybody who works for it are really inept, we’ve got the names and details of everybody responsible for Carillion – and the company has a vast amount of assets that should be sold to pay off its debts.

I want to see those assets sold off, and prosecutions of executives and shareholders to recover the public money they took under false pretences, with the proceeds used to pay the £100 million the government is putting up at the moment.

Agreed?

Contractors hit by the collapse of Carillion will be able to apply for government-backed loans from high-street lenders as part of a £100m support package.

The business secretary, Greg Clark, said the British Business Bank would support high street lenders to give loans to small and medium-sized businesses, and individuals owed money by the failed outsourcing giant.

The move comes after three high street banks agreed to provide “tailored support” worth almost £250m to those facing a hit from the company’s collapse.

Carillion owed huge sums when it went into liquidation in January, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

The latest financial support measure will provide support to high-street lenders that might not otherwise give loans to Carillion contractors because they may lack the required assets for security.

Source: Carillion: government to back loans to firm’s struggling contractors | Business | The Guardian


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