In the final extract from Hubris: How HBOS Wrecked the Best Bank in Britain, Ray Perman counts the costs – born by the mass casualties who were (and still are) the casualties of the world’s worst financial crash. And what happened to those at the top?
‘I think the deal stinks’ said one Lloyds shareholder. ‘A lot of people will lose their jobs’, said the former Bank of Scotland CEO. No-one foresaw the full and lasting cost of Lloyds rushed takeover of HBOS in September 2008.
Who has paid the cost in the HBOS crash? Inside HBOS, staff earning £15,000 -£18,000, who were also shareholders, were watching their savings evaporate. Ray Perman continues the story of a banking disaster unresolved to this day.
The events leading up to the crash began in New York, 7 September 2008. A week later the shock waves engulfed Scotland’s oldest bank in Edinburgh.
The SNP hopes its Sustainable Growth Commission report will restart the national debate on independence? Richard Murphy describes it as disastrous, the Fraser of Allander Institute sees much for all parties to discuss (with or without independence in mind). Ray Perman thinks it will be forgotten fairly quickly.
The Programme for Government is full of detailed initiatives to support and encourage everything from manufacturing in the West Highlands to tourism in Ayrshire. Mostly it is a description of what is already being done, but where’s the evidence for what works, asks a former government adviser.
“Truth springs from argument among friends,” is often attributed to Hume, although it doesn’t appear in his writings. As long as it doesn’t count as a slogan or a soundbite, I’m happy to subscribe to it. The former David Hume Institute director says au revoir…as a happy sceptic to the end.
“That would mean far more savage austerity than Scotland has experienced so far under the protection of the Barnett formula. It probably would also mean tax increases, which the First Minister has so far mostly avoided for fear of driving high earners out of Scotland.”
“Why might she want to delay a decision? One reason is that she cannot guarantee to win a second referendum. Opinion polls still show a majority for remaining within the UK. Calling another vote now carries a high risk.” Nicola Sturgeon’s narrowing options examined.
“A full-blown universal income would be even more expensive, involving rises of 10%, taking the basic rate of income tax to 30% and the higher and top rates to 50%. Politically those increases are unthinkable. They would take us back to the 1970s. Since then the direction of income taxes has been relentlessly downwards…”