BBC News website readers have been sending us their comments on the latest
. In the most recent instalment, our diarists discuss several topics but the one which drew most response from website readers was the crack down on bonuses. Here is a selection of your comments.
My achievements at work in the private sector have been "above target" every year since 1961 when I was first employed. I receive congratulations and my salary in exchange for doing my work. I neither expect nor receive bonuses, ever. Much of what Laura writes is technically correct, but she reveals a cast of mind indistinguishable from those who have lost their moral compass. If a bank can make profits (and therefore consider distributing bonuses) only because taxpayers have enabled it to continue in business, common sense would suggest that the taxpayers should be repaid before any bank staff.
John Graham, London
Investment bankers have a very unrealistic view of "reward"
I'm the first to admit that I'd like to see radical reform of the financial system, and as such I feel that I'm instantly alienated from these people because they appear very much set in their ways. I appreciate Laura's reluctance to accept change in her pay scale and the way in which she must feel aggrieved. I believe that investment bankers have a very unrealistic view of "reward".
Laura asks "What business is it of the state or any other person if all parties are working within the law?" The answer is when you need to be bailed out by the taxpayer for the consequences of your actions, then the tax payer has a legitimate right to question your behaviour. It would seem reasonable to me that bankers didn't get a penny of bonus until all the people outside the discredited financial services industry who have been made redundant or had businesses fail in this banker created recession, have jobs again.
Peter, Leighton Buzzard
Rather than relying on big bonuses, the banks should reward their staff through their salaries with a smaller bonus on top (say 25% of salary) via performance versus objectives and competencies shown. This would lead to more responsible banking and more considered decisions taken by their staff because they wouldn't feel the need to take massive risks in pursuit of potentially huge rewards. The bosses will say that this may reduce the profit they generate. I think this would be no bad thing if the benefit was a more stable economy and I say this as a shareholder.
Mike Stansfield, Harrogate
The banks are not private in any meaningful sense as they would not exist without bail-outs. Neither would the banks who didn't need massive bail-outs, as they would have been brought down by the others. Therefore the bonuses are not justified. If the government asked for its money back then there would be no profits to pay bonuses from. I don't think the population are fooled and sooner or later a government will get in which will dispense revenge on the banking sector.
If bankers want state intervention, they should accept certain conditions
"If a private company wants to pay someone a large amount of money in return for that person earning the company an even larger amount of money or a massive loss, what business is it of the state or any other person if all parties are working within the law?"
This is fine - except that if we are to base pay on market forces, it should be on full open market conditions ie the industry should not require state intervention. Either the banking sector should be entirely independent and accept the associate risks, or if it wants state intervention to stay afloat, it should accept conditions imposed on it by its creditors, the state.
With regard to Laura's comments, I work for a large telecoms company within the IT department. Although I am a firm believer in rewarding staff for earnings, the frustration is not that rewards should not be paid, but more the fact that the money bankers made has now virtually vanished. The public needed to step in through bail-outs, while watching the value of their own savings and pensions dwindle. Unfortunately there is no new money out there. Consumers owe £1.5 trillion and growing. The quantative easing programme is tantamount to borrowing and eventually all this borrowed money will have to be paid back. The question is how?
We want banks to be competitive, but not so competitive they lose depositors' money
Laura fails to appreciate the basic paradox at the heart of the Western-style banking system - that we are merely pretending that banks operate in a normal commercial environment when they patently do not. The fundamental contradiction is that, if I knew that my small company would always be rescued by tax payers' money, of course I would go out there, borrow a lot, not concentrate too much on business profitability, pay myself huge amounts of money, live a fantastic life as long as I could, and then only go cap in hand to the government when I really had to. I would suggest that a small tax on financial transactions (yes, a Tobin tax) would be an equitable way of providing for the next occasion when the financial sector needs bailing out.
Chris Ingram, London
Would it be easier to say 10% bonus of whatever regardless? By this I mean if you make a profit for your company you get 10% but if you make a loss you pay 10%?
Leigh Bowden, Stockport