Politicians target the City

FIGURES?from across the political establishment lined up to renew their attacks on the City yesterday, in a sign that populist banker bashing is unlikely to fizzle out any time soon.

Senior Liberal Democrats led the pack at their conference in Liverpool, as party leaders tried to convince members they have not sold out by sharing power with the Conservatives.

Deputy prime minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg warned banks against paying “ludicrously sky-high” bonuses, and said there would be “very serious action” if they do.

He added: “If you abuse the generosity of taxpayers then clearly this government won’t be able to stand idly by.

“The last government imposed a temporary tax on bonuses. I’m not going to take any options off the table.”

However, aides to chancellor George Osborne yesterday played down suggestions the government would repeat Labour’s one-off bonus tax, which did little to restrain pay but did boost government coffers.

Business secretary Vince Cable said banks were facing a “potential train crash” over
bonuses, and warned the government could introduce a tax on profits or transactions.

Meanwhile,?Labour mayoral hopeful Ken Livingstone suggested the London mayor should have powers to raise additional income tax, with the highest earners possibly paying an eye-watering rate of 80 per cent.

“The mayor should have an income tax so you can redistribute wealth. Mrs Thatcher had a top rate of tax of 60 per cent for the first eight years and all these bankers were swarming here,” he said.

“I think it would at least be a 60 per cent rate for everybody over £200,000. You might look at an 80 per cent rate for people earning £1m. These are exactly the people that have landed us in this mess.”