Sir Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of “rolling over” and making plans to cut the cap on bankers’ bonuses, after reports suggesting the move is being considered in Number 10.
Starmer said in Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) that Johnson’s “new approach” is “pay rises for bankers, pay cuts for district nurses”.
Number 10 yesterday denied the government was considering removing pay restrictions on City executives or binning the cap on bonuses, which was introduced after the 2008 financial crisis, and a Cabinet source reiterated today that it wasn’t being discussed.
This is despite a letter from Number 10 chief of staff Steve Barclay being leaked to the i newspaper, which seemed to suggest both of these policy moves could be in play post-Brexit.
The cap, which was introduced by Brussels after the 2008 financial crash, sees bankers’ bonuses limited to no more than 100 per cent of their fixed pay or double that with explicit shareholder approval.
The speculation comes as public sector workers likely face a year of pay rises that will be well under the UK’s rate of inflation.
Starmer said: “Rather than helping working people, he’s rolled over on bankers’ bonuses hasn’t he?
“He’s having meetings about increasing bankers’ bonuses, but can’t find time for a single meeting to try and end the strikes crippling the country.”
The Prime Minister refused to address the question or deny the claims made by Starmer.
“What we’re actually doing is putting, thanks to the decisions we’ve taken, we’re putting more money into the pockets of people up and down the country,” he said.
“Twelve-hundred pounds more for the 8m most vulnerable households. The reason we can do that is because we took the tough decisions necessary to come out of the pandemic faster than any other European country.”
A Number 10 spokesperson said ministers were only mulling changes to make it easier for non-executive directors in the City to invest in shares.
“Individuals are already encouraged to invest in the companies with which they are non-executive directors, but there are some restrictions on share ownership that are being explored,” they said.
“The view is that looking at this and potentially making this change could ensure these individuals are more invested in the success of the companies they are involved in which helps generate jobs, growth and investment.”