This latest twist in the banking crisis epitomises to me the hypocrisy that has been Labour policy on pensions under the Brown as Chancellor years and now the Brown PM years.
As chancellor his policies lead to the failure of many pension funds and as a result he set up the Pension Protection Fund. The fund never covered all of the lost pensions and as a result many thousands of pensioners are left with severe hardship and getting worse year on year. We had a succession of mealy mouthed work and pension’s secretaries telling us how proud they are that they have lifted X thousands of the poorest out of poverty. This is the pensioner tax credit which is perhaps the most hated form of means testing ever devised with such a complicated application form you need a degree in English to understand and most pensioners have to have help filling it in. The extra money is not a lot because they consider savings of around £16K to be earning 10% and adjust accordingly.
The government have an army of snoopers who check on benefit fraud. Nothing wrong with that unless you consider what as just happened. Chief Exec of bank defrauds (because that is what it is) bank of billions by bringing the bank to its knees. Then in collaboration with his Chairman, not only cons the bank but the government into paying him an outrageous pension. Remember the crocodile tears at the select committee?
I’ve heard the sob stories about the government not being able to afford to pay pensioners a fair pension because I believe we are all being ripped of to the tune of £50 per week yet they double quick bailed out Fred’s bank and gave him enough dosh in one handout to fully fund the Pension Protection Fund. If I had attempted to defraud my bank I would quite rightly be arrested.
So what does dear Gordon do? He asks Fred ever so nicely to please give some of the money back, bugger off ses Fred nothing doing. Gordon insists that just a little sweetener will get him off the hook a couple of grand maybe. Nothing doing ses Fred go take a hike. Gordons getting a bit touchy but because he knows this is only the tip of the pension’s iceberg and just below the surface all the public sector and government pension scandals, he can’t take a chance.
So Gordon this is what you do! Stop dithering! Call in the serious fraud squad, arrest Fred and his chairman and the rest of the old RBS Northern Rock & HBOS boards. Confiscate their passports and assets because this lot are a serious threat to our national security. A typical charge might be “on suspicion of attempting to defraud a bank or pension fund or even her majesties treasury”. That ought to be enough to bang em up until such time that legislation can be brought in retrospectively to deal with them. Until the public see these people properly dealt with there will not be any confidence in government or banking. I bet a few days in Winson Green will make Fred and Co re-think their pension plans. But finally not a penny in pensions from the tax payer until every penny in bail out money has been recovered and then only after one of Gordon’s enquiries. That ought to keep the money safe for about 20yrs.