NEW POLL: How do you solve a problem like Sir Fred?

by Stephen Tall on March 2, 2009

The debate has raged all over the weekend about what exactly the Government should do (if anything) about the £650,000 per year pension to which Sir Fred Goodwin, former chief executive of RBS, is entitled thanks to a deal struck with the bank’s board and later sanctioned by the government when it became a majority owner.

Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman provoked a media storm when she suggested that the government might introduce legislation specifically to claw back a large part of Sir Fred’s pension. Meanwhile, Lib Dem deputy leader Vince Cable has put forward his own proposal: that Sir Fred simply be paid £27,000 a year, the maximum available to employees of bankrupt companies under the Pension Protection Fund.

Over to LDV’s readers to try and answer the question: How do you think the issue of Sir Fred Goodwin’s £650,000 a year RBS pension should be resolved?

Here are your options:

>> The government should legislate to claw back a large part of Sir Fred’s pension
>> The government should instruct that Sir Fred be paid a minimum amount, and he should sue if he wants his full entitlement.
>> The government should abide by the agreement entered into between Sir Fred and RBS and sanctioned by its own business minister.
>> Don’t know / Other

Let debate re-commence …

PS: seemed rather pointless to poll the question, “Do you think Sir Fred is entitled to his £650,000 a year RBS pension?” I’m guessing a majority would probably say ‘No’. But if anyone does want to advance that particular line, do feel free to mount the write-in campaign below.

No comments

A difficult one to phrase into a poll, and I think Stephen’s done a good job of it.

I don’t see how Vince’s suggestion can be any more legal than the government “legislating” to get some of it back.

Rightly or wrongly, the man has a valid contract.

by Julian H on March 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm. Reply #

I like Vince’s idea. It makes sense. How often has the government wrongly overpaid working tax credit and then clawed it back? If it is prepared to do that to the poorest in our society then it seems reasonable that if it has made a mistake, and Vince is right (of course the bank would have been bankrupt if the government hadn’t stepped in), then it is only fair to do the same to the richest. Frankly Sir Fred’s attitude stinks of what seems to be the prevailing valueless zone that typifies so many of our banks. The valueless attitude that meant bankers with no moral plumbline were prepared to risk our money for their gain without taking any risks themselves. If he had any sense of dignity he would willingly give most of it back. Or he could keep a small percentage and perhaps redistribute the rest amongst those who are now jobless and homeless because of his reckless selfishness and arrogance.


by Linda Jack on March 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm. Reply #

I’m not qualified to know whether or not there is any legal route to not pay the full pension. If there is it should be used.

It does not seem right to me that the Government should threaten to change the law just to get at one individual when it is primarily down to their own misguided policies and downright incompetance that he has got this pension in the first place.

by Liberal Neil on March 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm. Reply #

IF there is legislation available to reduce his pension, then it should be used. Vince’s suggestion is not massively unreasonable in the slightest, if it is legal (and I am no expert on the subject).

Else, the practice of retroactively changing the law is absolutely disgraceful, and smacks of a Government desperate to bow to public pressure to take some of the rap off their atrocious record.

by Andreas Christodoulou on March 2, 2009 at 7:13 pm. Reply #

“The government should abide by the agreement entered into between Sir Fred and RBS and sanctioned by its own business minister.”

Their fault for signing it, simple as that. If Labour had paid more attention to this aspect of contractual negotiations the country would not have seen some of the most ruinous PFI deals.

by Robson Brown on March 2, 2009 at 8:17 pm. Reply #

Can we have an option that says ‘The Government should stop trying to distract us from their own incompetence with this massive white elephant and call an election so we can finally get rid of them for pissing all over the global economy.’?

or ‘The Government should acknowledge the massive hypocrisy of blaming bankers entirely for the financial crisis and attacking their pensions without taking a look at their own role in the global financial system and offering up their own pensions for sacrifice to the court of public opinion.’

I could go on…and on and on…

by Letterman on March 2, 2009 at 8:45 pm. Reply #

“Do you think Sir Fred is entitled to his £650,000 a year RBS pension?”

Entitled yes, deserves no.

by Hywel on March 2, 2009 at 8:58 pm. Reply #

He certainly doesn’t deserve it, but it’s Labour’s incompetence (just for a change) that’s gifted it to him. Why wasn’t he simply sacked when the errors he made came to light – it’d have made for an entertaining industrial tribunal!

by john on March 3, 2009 at 12:05 am. Reply #

It really has to be the third option, but with a hearty “and don’t ever sanction such an obviously ridiculous pension again” tacked on the end.

by Caz on March 3, 2009 at 12:19 am. Reply #

I would be perfectly happy for Fred to keep his pension; but only if it was totally funded out of Gordon Brown’s Parlaimentary entitlement!

by David Evans on March 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm. Reply #

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