Letter sent to the Barclays’ Bank Chairman by Evesham and District Justice and Equality Network

The Chairman
Barclays Bank
1 Churchill Place
London
E14 5HP

29th January 2011

As members of the Evesham and District Justice and Equality Network (EDJEN) we have been outside your local bank today to protest about the current role of the banks in our society in general, and the size of bankers’ bonuses in particular. I enclose a copy of our leaflet which states the direction which we believe the Banks should take. We make it clear we believe banks are an essential part of our society. They have done much good in the past. We recognise banks contribute greatly to our economy, although many people think you have become too influential, as opposed to manufacturing and related industries which have declined considerably over the past twenty years.

We do not oppose bonuses per se, though we believe people should do the work as agreed with their employer, and if that employer chooses to give a modest bonus in appreciation of service over and above the call of duty, maybe 10% would be adequate, as one would offer for good service in a restaurant or similar establishment. The enormous size of bonuses encouraged investment bankers to gamble with your and our money, led us into the dreadful financial situation which has required £800 billions of public money to bail you out, and left us with an extremely large public debt.

We also want you to stop assisting rich clients to avoid tax. It is very clear that the wealthiest people salt their money away in tax havens – Jersey, the British Virgin islands, the Cayman islands, Bahamas, even the Isle of Man – while the rest of us who can’t afford your costly ‘advice’ pay our taxes as due – which is as it should be. If all the avoidance, evasion and fraud was stopped, HMRC has estimated up to £40 billions a year would be raised – which would prevent some of the vicious cuts in welfare benefits, especially to the young and disabled, which are now taking place.

We also believe banks should separate your ‘retail’ business, i.e. the normal business which ordinary customers expect, from your investment business. It is the latter which allowed some of your most highly paid staff to gamble with our money, and when they lost it didn’t cost them a bean, but we are having to pay very dearly. If bankers want to gamble, do it with your own money, or those of your clients who can afford to lose, not with ordinary people’s money, and not to the degree which requires the massive bail-outs of the last two years.

Finally we believe you are failing to lend to small and medium businesses as is necessary to restart the economy which your activities have helped to stall. Government has been trying to get you to operate in this more socially responsible manner but their efforts appear to have been rebuffed. It is unacceptable that you take our bail-out, then refuse to support local businesses who are the main hopes of economic recovery. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely

on behalf of EDJEN