So Vince Cable and George Osborne are supposedly meeting with representatives of the banks today (Monday 20 December) to tell them in no uncertain terms (!!!) of the folly of paying large bank bonuses.
Listening on Radio 4 this morning, the meeting was described and compared to an old style Western stand off between two unshaven gunslingers both waiting for the other to make the first move.
It does seem that the banks are determined to pay bonuses, citing competitive pressures as a major reason for pursuing such a policy. On the other hand, the government is threatening some form of punitive action if the banks follow through on the payments.
My bet is that we will hear various statements following on from the meeting about how agreement has been reached with the government thanking the banks for their understanding of the position – and then the banks finding a way to pay the bonuses anyway!
I am absolutely certain that one way or another, these bank bonuses are going to be paid and it’s just a question of what government does when it finds out. Let’s face it, apart from anything else, the tax and national insurance take from the bonuses will please The Treasury
Vince Cable and George Osborne will probably huff and puff over the coming months, but ultimately, as they have shown all along with the banks, they really can’t do very much about them and exerting any influence proved to be an unachievable goal.