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Letters: Executive pay policy yields big bonus for Ed Miliband

Last week you reported that Peter Mandelson was warning “against reverting to old arguments and business and bank bashing” (Report, 26 January). Mandelson, along with a chorus of others, has been urging Labour to be more “credible” on economic issues and they assume that credibility means adopting a craven attitude to business. Yet some “old-fashioned” arguments about the rich being too rich while the majority are being asked to suffer cuts and austerity appear to have struck a chord with the public, forced a U-turn from RBS and left the coalition looking weak and out of touch. This “bank bashing” looks like the most effective thing Ed Miliband has done since he became leader. It would be great if he learned from it and reconsidered Labour’s softly, softly approach to other coalition policies.
Joe Hartney

• Interesting to note the contrast between the zeal with which the Thatcher government tackled the power of the unions who dared to “hold the country to ransom” in their demands for better pay and conditions, and the impotence of Cameron’s Tory-led coalition to take any action against executive pay and bonus excesses.
Nick Muggridge
Steyning, West Sussex

• How good to read Mehdi Hasan (Comment, 30 January) challenging the virtual taboo on increasing tax. I recall income tax at 33%, with unearned income – interest and dividends – taxed at a higher rate than earned income. The fiscal system was far less complicated and much less capable of being subverted by clever accounting. I believe the reduction over many years in the proportion of revenue raised by income tax is the root of much of the ongoing financial crisis.
Ian King
Westbury on Severn, Gloucestershire

• While we’re glad to see Stephen Hester bow to public pressure over his £1m share bonus, I think it’s time to take a break from banker bonus bashing. As joint CEO of one of the UK’s most successful privately owned financial services IT consultancies, I can assure you neither board nor senior partners will be taking any increased pay or bonuses this year. We could: we were more profitable again in 2011 than 2010, but our profits will either be going to grow the business or to our 250 staff. Let’s put RBS in proportion and focus on the exports and increased employment that originate from owner-managed firms across the UK.
Jeremy Ward
Chief executive officer, Excelian

• George Osborne claimed Stephen Hester had to be paid his bonus because it had been agreed by the previous government. If this is the case, how is it that, despite commitments by previous governments to uprate my teachers’ pension in line with the RPI, he decided that it should in future be uprated in line with the (lower) CPI?
Anthony Fletcher

• If it were up to me, bankers wouldn’t get paid so much as a penny bonus. However, just to show that “we are all in this together”, bonuses could be capped at £26,000.
Peter Betts
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