Why can we afford tax cuts for bankers but not pay rises for important public sector workers? - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Mark White, Chestnut Meadows, Tollerton, York.

The Conservative government has claimed that funding the NHS nurses’ and other public sector workers’ pay claims would cost each UK household £1,000 a year. They say that that is unaffordable.

At the same time, the ‘End Child Poverty’ charity reports that 26 per cent of children in Ryedale and 20 per cent of children in Hambleton are living in poverty and that the estimated cost of extending free school meals to more needy children is between £555-790m a year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The question is: is paying for either or both affordable or not?

Ambulance workers on the picket line. PIC: Jacob King/PA WireAmbulance workers on the picket line. PIC: Jacob King/PA Wire
Ambulance workers on the picket line. PIC: Jacob King/PA Wire

Richard Murphy, Professor of Accounting at Sheffield University Management School, and director of Tax Research LLP has pointed out that the Government could easily save £27bn a year by stopping payment of interest on the funds gifted to commercial banks after the global banking crash in 2007 (quantitative easing, or QE). It’s in their power to do so but they have chosen not to.

Secondly, both the Truss and the Sunak administrations chose to reduce the bank tax surcharge from 8 per cent to 3 per cent - a change that may save banks up to £7bn - and to abolish the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

All these actions serve to increase the banks’ already massive profits at public expense and, no doubt, to increase bankers’ bonuses on those profits. It seems that the government prefers paying bankers to paying nurses.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We hear Conservative Ministers claim that “If everyone in the public sector had a pay rise in line with inflation, it would cost an extra £28bn.That is less than the money that the government is gifting to banks.

It’s a question of choices, isn’t it? And of course, up to 40 per cent of the money paid to public sector workers will come back to the government in tax and NI, and most of the people who provide our medical care; teach our young people; empty our bins; put out fires; maintain the roads; operate our pools and leisure centres; look after the trees and green spaces; will all be spending money in our local communities.

How many bankers will be spending their bonuses in the shops of our market towns and villages?

It is clear that the government is choosing not to support working people and children. In that case, our local Conservative MPs might reflect that they cannot expect the support of working people at the next election.