It is sometimes remarkable how certain groups of people are unable, or maybe unwilling, to understand their own circumstances and to relate these appropriately to the interests of the society in which they live. In the current economic conditions and in the light of the decisions that have had to be taken to facilitate a recovery of the national economy, this is not the time to be claiming or receiving bonus payments on top of a salary, other than in most exceptional cases. Given that our financial institutions caused most of the problems for which the people as a whole will now have to pay, it is almost beyond belief that employees in these institutions are still in receipt of large bonus payments.
As we achieve a reasonable recovery from our current problems, and if at that point individuals can be identified who made a special contribution to that beyond the call of duty, then maybe a reward would be understandable. But right now it will seem to many taxpayers that they are having to face hardship in order (at least in part) to fund special payments for those who got us into the mess. Of course it is always more complex than that, but right now there is a social reality that employees in the financial institutions simply need to understand and accept. No bonuses should be paid, and any attempt to use the law to enforce payments should be faced down.
For the sake of balance, I should stress that I am not against incentive payments, which can make a valuable contribution to success. We should not allow our current crisis to create opposition to legitimate bonus schemes in the future. But making incentive payments at a time of corporate failure in the banks is madness, and accepting them demonstrates an unwillingness to play a part in our national recovery. This shouldn’t be happening.