THREE party conferences, and three more rounds of anti-capitalist rhetoric – and bearing the brunt, of course, are the bankers. YouGov’s BrandIndex illustrates how consistent negative rhetoric and press coverage has impacted the overall perception of the banking industry.
The banking industry index average (spanning 10 retail banks) has remained persistently negative, at its lowest in March at -3.4 and remaining today at -1.2. The data shows how there have been few winners in banking this year, only survivors. Nationwide has managed one of the highest industry index scores in March at 14.6 and today at 13.8. RBS lingers some 20 index points lower, at -15.4 in March and -14.4 today.
The impression scores of the industry also remain consistently negative, averaging a -8 score for the year. RBS dipped below the -30 mark in January, March and again in May and shows no sign of improvement today.
Where is the policy discussion on the real drivers of the economy, such as productivity? The latest figures from the ONS show that French and German productivity rose between 2009 and 2010 – not so in Britain, where it remains stagnant.
According to YouGov’s Household Economic Activity Tracker, the percentage of UK workers who expect activity at their workplace to increase over the next year is flat. In April the reading was 13.2, and despite a rise in July to 16.2 this figure has slid back.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls on Monday admitted that the huge increase in public spending driven by the previous government did not yield sufficient dividends. Everyone wants deficit reduction and job creation, but they never talk about increasing productivity.
That would mean dealing directly with dull, difficult and vital issues like public sector efficiency, employment practices, procurement, and the re-engineering of our public services and the reform of the civil service to deliver more value-for-money.
For as long as politicians dwell on anti-capitalist rhetoric, our productivity and ultimately job creation will lag. Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov