How we can get back Fred Goodwin’s RBS pension
The simplest way to deprive Sir Fred Goodwin of his undeserved £700,000-a-year pension is to tax it back at the next Budget
Ever since it was revealed that the disgraced Sir Fred Goodwin is getting a pension of £700,000 a year from RBS, the finest minds in punditry and politics have been wondering why they cannot find a way to take it off him.
With the taxpayer on the hook for hundred of millions of pounds thanks to the reckless way in which he brought RBS to its knees, the moral case for at least reducing it is impeccable. Yet no one can figure out how to get the money back.
Contractually, it seems, the deal is watertight. As for passing a special law to deprive him of it, not only would that set a dubious precedent but it might well fall foul of human rights law. City types - invariably well-pensioned themselves - have used the general bemusement to claim that we now need to move on to more important matters, and forget about personal retribution.
But this affair is so outrageous that it cannot just be forgotten; seeing justice done is a crucial part of closure. If we cannot get Goodwin's pension back in any other way, then the Government should use the Budget (due in April) to tax it back.
Nor should Goodwin be the only target. There are a few others who have managed to flee their failed banks with unjustifiably large pensions and are now keeping their heads down, hoping the storm will blow itself out on the hated Fred.
What is required is a way to catch them as well while sparing ordinary bank employees on normal pensions, and also those who left before disaster struck.
How about a simple clause saying that anyone in receipt of a pension from a bank that has received public funds, and which started less than a year before the public money was put in, would be subject to a special tax rate of, say, 99 per cent on any amount received in excess of £150,000 per year? That should do the trick, and the entire country minus about ten people would cheer it to the rafters. ·
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