UK Bank Bonuses to Charity?
20 January 2011 at 10:12 am
The UK’s peak volunteer organisation says bankers should give their bonuses to charity.
The Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Sir Stuart Etherington, made the call ahead of giving evidence to the UK Public Administration Select Committee, in London.
Sir Stuart says bankers' bonuses are expected to hit £7bn ($AUD11.2 billion) this year: that's more than the combined annual expenditure of all the UK's health, environment and community development charities.
He says high-earning bankers should set an example by donating money to help the people and the communities who have been hit hardest by the recession.
NCVO is a founding member of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, which is calling for new financial sector taxes to help tackle poverty and climate change, in the UK and in dozens of countries including Australia.
Sir Stuart says his organisation is a wholehearted supporter of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, and reform of the banking system is essential, but it will take time.
In the interim, he says bankers should do the right thing and give their money to make a huge difference to individuals and communities.
He also says that a rise in giving by the wealthy would provide a vital shot in the arm for the voluntary and community sector, at a time when it is facing serious funding difficulties coupled with an increase in demand for its services.
In Australia, bank chiefs have particularly incensed business entrepreneur and philanthropist Dick Smith.
In the lead up to Christmas he wrote to the chief executives of the nation's four major financial institutions urging them to give away a fifth of their income.
Smith claimed that none of them pledged their support and only the Commonwealth CEO Sir Ralph Norris wrote back telling him he gives to charity privately.