Friday, 17 July 2015

Osborne and the banks

With all the fuss quite rightly being made about the duplicitous Osborne and his ridiculous "blue-collar Budget claims", the favours granted to HSBC have received far too little publicity (Morning Star,10/07/15). We all remember how the bank is threatening to move its headquarters out of London, possibly to Hong Kong, because, it said, the bank levy imposed by the government was so high it was seriously limiting the amount dished out to shareholders. The reduction in its profits, presumably, had nothing to do with the huge fines it had to pay out for the raft of fraudulent misdemeanors it had committed, from money-laundering the profits of Mexican drug cartels to the help given to customers of its Swiss arm to avoid the payment of billions in tax. In order to encourage the former, the tellers` windows in the banks were widened to allow access for the massive boxes of cash!
    Predictably, our brave chancellor, frequently lauded by the right-wing press for his courage in taking difficult decisions, caved in to the threat, and the bank levy was duly halved, and to apply only to banks` British operations. No prizes for guessing which bank`s new levy bill will no longer be £1bn but a mere £300m!
 It will be interesting to see how hard the slap on the wrist is for Stephen Green, ex-trade minister in the last government, and of course, the boss of HSBC during  its most blatantly criminal period, when he faces questions from a House of Lords economics committee next Tuesday. Perhaps even more revealing will be which financial corporation employs Osborne when he hangs up his political boots!


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