Labour demands Boris reveal bankers' meeting details amid claims he'll scrap bonus cap

22 June 2022, 16:01 | Updated: 22 June 2022, 17:56

Angela Rayner called for transparency over a reported bankers' meeting
Angela Rayner called for transparency over a reported bankers' meeting. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Labour has demanded the Government reveals what was discussed at a meeting with bankers amid reports it is set to scrap the cap on their bonuses.

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Angela Rayner, the party's deputy leader, said she wanted minutes from a meeting with "international bankers" from June last year.

She characterised the meeting as one where they "directly lobbied… to scrap their bonus caps".

The limit, imposed by the European Union after the 2008 economic crisis, restricts bankers' bonuses to 100% of their pay, or, if approved by shareholders, double their pay.

In a letter to Steve Barclay, the Tory MP who serves as Boris Johnson's chief of staff, Ms Rayner pointed to spiralling costs faced by Brits in supermarkets and at petrol stations and said: "It was of huge concern to see that the government had asked ministers to ease rules around pay for City bosses and review "unnecessary restrictions" on bankers' bonuses. Ministers said this was reflective of their "new approach".

"It appears this Government's "new approach" is to prioritise increasing banker's bonuses rather than helping working people.

Angela Rayner called for minutes of a reported meeting with banker to be published
Angela Rayner called for minutes of a reported meeting with banker to be published. Picture: Getty

"The hypocrisy of removing restrictions for bankers while the public sector face a prolonged period of below-inflation pay rises is clear. It is an indication of where this government’s priorities lie."

She said she wanted the minutes of the meeting she said took place between Mr Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, with the bankers, asked about any other meetings on lifting the cap on bonuses, and questioned if it had been brought up by any donors to the Tory party.

She also asked what was promised.

Read more: Govt 'planning to relax controls on City boss pay' whilst calling for restraint on pay rises

The reported move has been criticised given most Brits are facing the squeeze in the cost of living crisis.

Mr Barclay is said to have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak with a plan for "deregulatory measures to reduce the overall burden on business" and attract companies to the UK.

This would involve removing restrictions on director and non-executive director remuneration, according to a leaked copy of the letter seen by the i newspaper.

Ms Rayner's party leader Sir Keir Starmer brought up the issues at Prime Minister's Questions.

He said to Mr Johnson: "His chief of staff (Steve Barclay) says removing the cap on bankers' bonuses is, in his words, reflective of our new approach.

Boris Johnson has been criticised after reports he may lift the cap on bankers' bonuses
Boris Johnson has been criticised after reports he may lift the cap on bankers' bonuses. Picture: Getty

"Pay rises for City bankers, pay cuts for district nurses - that's the new approach. I didn't see that on any leaflets in Wakefield.

"But this hasn't come from nowhere because according to the Financial Times on June 7 last year the Prime Minister was directly lobbied for the cap to be lifted.

"Rather than help working people, he's rolled over on bankers' bonuses, hasn't he?"

Mr Johnson replied: "What we're actually doing is, thanks to the decisions we've taken, we're putting money into the pockets of people up and down the country - £1,200 more for the eight million most vulnerable households."

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