This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here. Topline figures are CON 29%, LAB 41%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 12%.


The economic trackers are as bad as usual for the government – people think the government are managing the economy badly by 65% to 25%, 67% think George Osborne is doing a bad job as Chancellor, only 11% of people expect their economic situation to get better in the next twelve months. Asked if the government’s economic strategy is working only 7% think it is, 36% think it isn’t but will in the fullness of time, 45% think it is unlikely to ever work. Take note of these figures – they are the background to this week’s budget and we’ll see next week if it has a positive or negative effect (in recent years budgets have had negative effects far more often than positive ones).

On the budget itself YouGov asked people what they wanted to see happen to spending and taxes in the budget – and how it would be paid for (otherwise everyone tends to say they’d like more spending and less taxes). 32% of people (mostly Conservaitves) said they wanted to see spending cut more, 25% (mostly Labour) that they wanted to see spending cut less, 25% that cuts should stay at about their current level. People were similarly divided on taxes – 24% wanted to see tax cuts, 22% tax rises, 38% that taxes should stay at their current level.

These should all be seen in the context of the more regular YouGov polling on cuts that does show that people dislike the spending cuts – they consistently say they are bad for the economy, too fast and being done unfairly. However they are also consistent in saying that they think they are necessary, which proably explains why people answered this week’s poll as they did.

The survey also asked about ringfencing spending on various areas after Liam Fox’s call for NHS spending not to be protected. His stance was, unsurprisingly, not widely popular! 74% think it is right for NHS spending to be protected, 18% think it is wrong. There is also widespread (67%) support for protecting spending on education, but 76% are opposed to protecting spending on international aid.


The poll also had a series of questions on Leveson, which generally speaking show the public pretty evenly divided. Some of the aims of the proposed regulations, such as forcing newspapers to print corrections or making newspapers who do not join the system subject to larger libel fines met with widespread support (90% and 62% respectively), but questions on the details of how the system works met with divided replies and large proportions of don’t knows. To be honest, I suspect that while people would like an effective and independent system of press regulation, few outside the industry or politics really care about the difference between underpinning by royal charter or by legislation.

432 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 29, LAB 41, LD 12, UKIP 12”

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  1. COLIN
    “And if I recall ,you were as dismissive of the “uninformed” public as you were of the press who inform them.”

    No actually (this really has to be my last comment for the while, as duty calls) I think i must have been referring, correctly and probably verifiably, to the general lack of knowledge about the EU of pretty much all of the voting public. This has, I suggest, to include those who comment on this blog – with exceptions, of course, including your goodself, who I gather has worked for the EU or possibly World Bank in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe? And even there, you may agree with me, a little knowledge or even quite a lot, but based on the received wisdoms and prescriptions of the West, has been a dangerous thing.
    For example in the attempt overnight to replace muniicipal and enterprise based social security collection and use in welfare, shelter and health services with a centralised system. I should say from my experience that this contributed to a lowering of the Soviet male life expectancy from 65 to 58 during the transitional period,, and to the total destruction of the infant and child care system. Do I expect any but a very few to have access to or be able to challenge the data, or necessarily to give a damn? Absolutely not, but the structures and doings of the EU affect us hugely, are subject to the forthcoming election. And few people could tell you the respective functions of the Commission, the Parliament and the Council of Ministers, or what are the alternatives they are voting for. EC TACIS and WB financial and social security reform programs? I wonder if you touched on them in your work, and have a view on these developmentsvre?

  2. @Pete B

    “Deposit Protection” doesn’t mean the EU has an ability to stop member governments taxing money in bank accounts.

    Deposit protection is against creditors of a bank if those creditors try to liquidise the bank’s assets. There is no possible way that these protections could ever be seen as “protection” from taxes. If it were like that, then governments would have a hard time getting people to pay money for any tax so long as their bank-accounts were all under the protection limit.

    Yes, taxes on standing capital are generally disliked. Yes, the levy is a huge risk to the banking system. But no, the EU neither imposed this levy, not can they stop it. They set out terms for a bailout payment involving Cyprus reducing their deficit, and Cyprus decided that the levy was the best way to reduce their deficit. The EU can’t renege on it’s bailout terms, without raising all kinds of issues about giving specific direction to member states.

    The EU as currently set up is directly prevented from micromanaging member state’s economies and taxation. Tax harmonisation specifically has been consistently punted into the long grass, with even the notationally ‘harmonized VAT system’ being highly variable between nation states.

    It’s certainly in the interest of the Cyprus government to blame the EU for ‘forcing them’ to enact a levy. This is “wasn’t us, it was those rotters in Brussels, they forced us to do it” deflection on a much grander scale. It’s certainly not in the Eurozone’s interest for Cyprus to do so, and the markets have already been affected.

  3. @RAF – “The Banks are insolvent and Cyprus can’t borrow what they need to pay their debts.”

    This is fundamentally wrong in one key respect, and misses the entire point in another.

    No, Cypriot banks are not insolvent. Some are, and some are not. However, all savers, including those who chose to bank with sound and solvent banks, have been penalised. This is a disaster in terms of building confidence in the European banking sector. So your statement ‘the banks are insolvent’ is wrong.

    You then talk about debts, which I presume means government bonds. This is where you are missing the point.

    If Cyprus cannot meet it’s borrowing obligations, why are bond holders also not being told they will get a 6 – 9% haircut? This is the fundamental mistake in all of this, that the solution has been to penalise citizens, including those in perfectly sound banks, while protecting institutional investors.

  4. Alec

    That’s because the Banks and (Institutional) Investors govern us. Ever looked at David cameron’s family background?

    Wiki: Cameron’s paternal forebears also have a long history in finance. His father Ian was senior partner of the stockbrokers Panmure Gordon, in which firm partnerships had long been held by Cameron’s ancestors, including David’s grandfather and great-grandfather,[10] and was a Director of estate agent John D. Wood. David Cameron’s great-great grandfather Emile Levita, a German Jewish financier (and descendant of Renaissance scholar Elia Levita), who obtained British citizenship in 1871, was the director of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China which became Standard Chartered Bank in 1969.[15] His wife, Cameron’s great-great grandmother, was a descendant of the wealthy Danish Jewish Rée family on her father’s side.[16][17] One of Emile’s sons, Arthur Francis Levita (died 1910, brother of Sir Cecil Levita),[18] of Panmure Gordon stockbrokers, together with great-great-grandfather Sir Ewen Cameron,[19] London head of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, played key roles in arranging loans supplied by the Rothschilds to the Japanese Central Banker (later Prime Minister) Takahashi Korekiyo for the financing of the Japanese Government in the Russo-Japanese war.

    It’s an eye opener how many appointees and people in positions of power have links to Goldman Sachs or some other bank.

  5. Is it just me or does it seem to others that the YouGov Con VI figure seems to be flip-flopping all over the place lately. Going from high to low to high and back again on a daily basis and almost never in the middle of its suggested range.

    I guess this is just random statistical noise but its been doing this pretty consistently since Eastleigh and normally its one of the most consistent figures in polling.

    Very annoying because IMO there is a huge huge difference between Con being on 32 (i.e. 8-9 points behind Lab = still in the game for 2015) and Con on 29 (i.e. 12-14 points behind Lab = going down the gurglers to certain defeat in 2015)

  6. @Pete B

    Well, that’s not an uncommon view, that when someone has difficulties they responded sensibly and prevailed therefore if others don’t it’s just because they brought it on themselves. But actually, often it’s compound difficulties.

    Coping with interest rates is one thing. Coping when you lose your job is another. Lose your job because you become ill it’s even harder. If someone close to you becomes ill and loses their job and you need to care for them, even harder still. If you and your partner become ill even more difficult. Happened to my parents actually, but on the plus side they had paid the mortgage off early already.

    During the credit crunch small businesses found banks restricting standard overdraft facilities needed for cash flow. Not the business’ fault but banks’ liquidity crisis took out seven percent of the economy real quick. Hard to cope with if it happens to be early in the development of a business.

    They say most people are just a couple of paychecks from disaster. There’s a lot of luck involved but people attribute that luck to their own stellar performance. If you get into mortgage difficulties an option is to remortgage. Young people now can’t even get on the ladder and can’t build up equity to offset against bad times. And may have tuition fees etc to pay off as well. Many bills since privatisation are through the roof these days, plus fuel duty and VAT at 20% (as opposed to 8% in 1978).

    Mortgages were a lot cheaper back then. You could get a decent terrace in many parts of the country for 15k in the mid-eighties when the starting salary of a teacher was around 10k. One-and-a-half times salary!! Different world. ..

  7. If Cyprus removes the levy on savings below 100k euro-the levy rises to 16%.

    Putin getting cross over 10%

    Rock & a hard place.

    What a mess.

  8. Just read on the BBC websute that the government is to announce parents getting 20% of childcare costs.

    -The devil as with most announcements from this government is in the detail.

    What this move actually means is that around 500,000 families loose approximately £500 a Year per child because of the way it is calculated and incidentally it cuts off completely at child aged 12.
    Also of course we have the situation where a Two income earning family earn up to £299,000 between them and have Two children that they will receive a nanny payment grant of £2400 while a One income family with 2 children on £60,000 have just lost a similar amount in child benefit.

    There also seems to be a plethora of announcements about what will be done after 2015 on VI intention this government would not have any influence at all in respect of this.

  9. I currently get childcare vouchers and these will come to an end. By then I won’t need them any more.

    But doesn’t the new scheme only help with very young children?

  10. Yet another critical report on standards of care in NHS

  11. Alec,

    The Cyprus banks do not have bondholders. That’s why the deposit tax is the only way of raising money.

    Apart from deposits, the only other creditors of the banks are the National Central Bank and the ECB. The ECB has recently told Cypus that it is not willing to continue its credit without the rescue package. This means several Cyprus banks will be unable to re-open without the bail-out package being approved this afternoon.

  12. @STEVE

    There also seems to be a plethora of announcements about what will be done after 2015 on VI intention this government would not have any influence at all in respect of this.


    Since embracing the VI thing I find myself oddly fascinated by this budget. They are more concerned to control the leaks this time and this government are not beyond of shooting themselves in the VI foot so hard to predict what they’ll do. Tomorrow could be interesting or a damp squib. I suppose damp squib might be safer but “interesting” would be good for analyzing polling. ..

  13. @Hal – “The Cyprus banks do not have bondholders. That’s why the deposit tax is the only way of raising money.”

    I know that. It’s the same in Ireland, UK, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and anywhere else. In these places, governments bailed out the banks and underwrote the deposits via bond market debt, leaving the risk with the bond investors who can be expected to have greater knowledge of the risks they are facing.

    In Cyprus, they have decided to dump the cost onto ordinary citizens, even those who bank with financially sound banks.

  14. Surely all it proves is that Banks are not private at all and need to be nationalised, and any that aren’t or won’t should be removed from any guarantee?

  15. @Colin – “Yet another critical report on standards of care in NHS”

    Be a little careful here. Your post reads as if the CQC is criticising the NHS only, but in fact the report was into 50 hospitals (I assume NHS run, but not necessarily so) with 17 of these deemed to be inadequate, along with 500 care homes, with 186 failing.

    It’s likely that most of the care homes are privately managed, and interestingly the care homes have a higher failure rate than the hospitals, although we have to be careful about making too many assumptions about the ownership and management of the units in question.

    This is an example of a private care home recently shut down by the CQC

    I’m pretty sure from your previous posts that your main point is concern over care in general, which I fully agree with, and although I may be wrong, I suspect you aren’t bothered who provides the care so long as it is good.

    However, your initial post could have been taken to be exclusively critical of the NHS, whereas if anything, the report highlights a more general issue across public and private sectors, and may actually indicate the NHS is doing better than the private sector.

  16. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 18th March – CON 32%, LAB 40%, LD 11%, UKIP 10%; APP -34

    The numbers do seem to be inconsistent, I agree with you, GRHINPORTS.

    But I think if we take an average of YouGov leads for Labour (last 10)

    8, 12, 12, 9, 14, 8, 10, 9, 10, 13= 105

    105/10= 10.5

    A 10.5 point lead for Labour seems to be a fair indicator.

    It will be interesting to see how the Budget affects this and if it further decreases CON vote like last year’s “omnishambles” budget or budget helps to increase CON’s figures.

  17. Speaking of freedom of speech:

    “BILL Roache believes sex abuse victims are paying for their behaviour in previous lives.”

    He’s free to say it and we’re free to watch his career fizzle out.

  18. I can understand the horrified reaction of some of the press. Parts of it have slowly developed a business model of essentially just making things up, or harvesting stories from the Internet, and then assuming if they’re found out then the penalties will be insignificant.

    Imagine if you’re a senior hack at one of these papers and you find that if you print something materially untrue, you may have to make a prominent front-page correction in future rather than just ignore it. It’s game over for your current business model.

  19. The numbers will seem inconsistent but we seem to be stabilizing around a new norm of roughly 30% Tories and 40% Labour.

    The interesting thing for me is that if Tories and Labour both drop a couple of percent each, isn’t that worse for Tories under FPTP? They would normally be expected to take more of a hit on seats as a result. So if UKip take from both Tories and Labour roughly equally, it’s still better for Labour (until such point that it means UKip start taking loads of seats etc. ..)

    I mean it’s not an absolute given cos it depends on things like tactical voting and distribution of votes but isn’t their a bias in the system towards the party with more votes?

    A related question is to what extent the UKip rise is voters anticipating tactical voting in the GE. In other words, of those switching from Labour to UKip how much is that happening in seats where Labour don’t have much of a chance anyway. ..

  20. carfrew

    I think that last point is key. In the South would-be Labour voters will vote anything to keep out Con.

    But where Lab has a perceived chance I suspect they will win ALL the possible seats on current VI. In other words Con may lose to LD and to Lab, but because of UKIP won’t be gaining any.

    A dire situation for the blues, but still most of the second half of the parliament to go.

  21. @Chris Riley – that’s one of the best summaries of the position and an excellent post, in my view.

    We’ve gradually developed a lazy, incompetent and vindictive press, with a few notable exceptions only. They have failed to realise that press regulation isn’t about controlling the press – it’s about protecting us from them.

  22. NICKP
    Surely all it proves is that Banks are not private at all and need to be nationalised, and any that aren’t or won’t should be removed from any guarantee?


    Even Portillo noted that since we depend in banks and are forced to bail them out we have to treat them differently and can’t just let them do as they please. He stopped short of nationalization, he said we have to treat them like utilities.

    On the free speech thing there’s little justification for saying the new press regulations are anti free speech. Press can still say what they like it just gives more redress. Victims get more comeback, more of a voice ie it is pro MORE free speech. ..

    What have the right got against the victims having more of a say?

  23. @ Alec,

    No, it is not the same. The Greek banks had private bondholders who took large losses when the banks were bailed out. The Cyprus banks do not have private bondholders.

  24. Hal

    Where does your info about there not being bondholders in Cypriot banks come from, my understanding is that the Cypriot bank bonds are under English law which means they can’t be touched outwith bankruptcy

  25. @Hal – Fair enough if that is the case. However, the Cyprus deal is radically different from any other approach to the retail banking sector throughout the current crisis, and I still believe it to be a grave mistake. The fact that Cyprus can’t yet open it’s banks as normal tends to back up my fears.

  26. There is irony is making poor children share bedrooms & live in overcrowded conditions whilst subsidising child care for those earning over £100k.

    There is irony in taking away child benefit from the better of because they don’t need it and then giving then childcare subsidised.

    The chops and changes all cost money and make the Conservative Party part of a nanny state they so disparaged before 2010 both literally and metaphorically.

    The effort of government is constantly wasted on the initiatives to do something new which feeds politicians’ vanity rather than on the dull business of making something work properly which wins few plaudits and scant attention from a Media hungry for novelty.

    The waste of human resources and the waste of money – as in the NHS – reforms & as in the so -called benefit reforms – entirely misses teh objective of good government. But we have always apparently the government we deserve and the polticians who refelct our values.

    It doesn’t say much for the public weal; public schools or public life that this ceaseless wiz-bang of hyper activity should pass itself as actually doing anything worthwhile for the civis or for those left in the greatest need by the disparities of wealth which we have elevated into a high principle of social , political and economic organisation since the 1970’s.

    Of an an educated public asked educated questions might respond differently but solitary sad truth is for all our frenzy of educational reform is that we have substituted consumerism for thought and in the feeding frenzy of fast food and instant gratification lost the reflective power of bring able to think for one’s self. Instant politics like instant ready meals fills a hole but it isn’t the recipe for a balanced intellectual diet anymore than its microwaved brother feeds the body..

  27. re:Cyprus

    If that were to happen here – I would lose out but as long as it was done fairly i.e. Millionaires couldn’t escape then I think I would be OK about it if it meant we could afford decent public services and we could stimulate growth.

  28. @NICKP

    “A dire situation for the blues, but still most of the second half of the parliament to go.”


    Just over two years. Thatch turned things round in two years but it took a war and a split opposition and peak oil helped. Now the right are split, and their VI trend is more down than up. A lot of cuts still to come which may not be popular and won’t help demand in the economy. Many measures they might take could take a while to feed through.

    This budget is rather critical I think…

    Meanwhile Boris is saying he’d love a “crack at” being PM if “the ball came loose at the back of the Scrum”. Which, of course “won’t happen” he says. ..

  29. If the Cons vote drops with Labour, and it’s still a 10% ish lead, then they become vulnerable again to LD’s despite their big VI drop earlier this parliament.

  30. NickP

    Who’s Bill Roache?

  31. “If the Cons vote drops with Labour, and it’s still a 10% ish lead, then they become vulnerable again to LD’s despite their big VI drop earlier this parliament.”

    Correct – At least as perceived on a UNS.

    Last week I put in figures of Lab 40, Con 30, LD 11, Others the rest, and then compared with figures of Lab 35, Con 25, LD 11, Others.

    On the Swingometre the LDs benefit quite dramatically from this 2nd scenario because the Swingometre is unable to contemplate UKIP winning any seats so the LDs are the natural beneficiaries of the Con decline even as LD lose hand over fist to Lab.

    In practice Im not so sure I think the LDs will do well to defend 80% of all their seats particularly when up against a Con challenger but they will inevitably lose some of these contests. Whilst at the same time I cant see them having the resources to fight the Cons even in seats where there is a genuine Con collapse, such seats could become genuine 4 way marginals. A seat like Cambourne & Redruth being perhaps a very good example.

    What I am of the belief is that UNS is a pretty defunct concept, and that even all the analysis of VI is pretty irrelevent given its seats and not VI that counts.

    What we really need is polling to look at bundles (with there being about a dozen different bundles in the UK as a whole) of same constituencies on a regular basis to get a real feel of what is happening but no polling company seems interested in seriously undertaking that project.

    FWIW I feel that if their vote was to surge I do believe UKIP would win the odd seat or two. It would be hard to predict where exactly but IMO it would be in a seat which is solidly Con BUT with a high working class population not offset by rural wealth.

    An example of a seat like this local to me would be something like David Willets Havant seat (not that I am predicting that would go UKIP in 2015) rather than some of the more rural Con heartlands where I suspect the typical Con voter in those seats is more sceptical about UKIP.

    Finally I have to say that as it stands I cant imagine any scenario that doesnt end with Ed Milliband as PM after 2015 – either as lead party in a coalition/minority govt OR heading up his own Lab majority.

  32. howard

    Google is your friend.

  33. NickP
    I’ve looked it up. Which newspapers do you read?

    I must mention an anecdote. In the seventies, in a Cheshire village, my wife attended the HR (not the WI and therein lies the tale).

    A chap came to give a talk on ‘Granada TV’. After half an hour with a bunch of bemused faces before him, (his talk was solelyconcerning salacious gossip about Coronation St ‘actors’) and nothing about how TV programmes are made, he inquired how many watched the programme. As ‘no one’ was the answer, the talk ended and off he went with apologies from the hostess to the speaker that she had not more carefully checked the situation. He explained that, in the WI’s and clubs, his lecture had always ‘gone down a treat’.

    A new form of snobbery, albeit unconsciously held. Perhaps Roache is related to the chap on the IOW, David Icke. No, I didn’t know who he was either until he decided he was a deity.

  34. Sorry, I’m getting a little tired of this argument that it’s all Cyprus’s fault, they made the EU do it.

    Here is the Eurogroup’s own words on the capital levy:

    “The Eurogroup further welcomes the Cypriot authorities’ commitment to take further measures mobilising internal resources, in order to limit the size of the financial assistance linked to the adjustment programme. These measures include the introduction of an upfront one-off stability levy applicable to resident and non-resident depositors.”

    Taken from

    It’s ludicrous to claim this decision is outside the EU’s control when i) they’re welcoming the decision, and ii) they have the power to pull the bailout money and plunge Cyprus into economic meltdown if they don’t do what they say.

    If the EU has somehow allowed itself to be misunderstood and the capital levy wasn’t their idea at all, they have to explain themselves, and quickly. Relying on supporters to say “I’m sure that wasn’t what they meant” isn’t good enough.

  35. Nick

    Who’s Google and why is he friends with Howard? Also how do you know who Howard’s friends are?

  36. Damn Howard you replied too quick

  37. Does any one know if the swing from labour to look is uniform. If it’s stronger in con held seats that would be really bad for them but if it’s stronger on lab held seats then………

  38. (Soz Charles, I missed your reply…)


    “As others have said, it could be that this approach (full employment) leads to increasing wages and thus loss of market share and potentially loss of jobs.”


    Well the plus side of people having more wages is that they have more purchasing power so business can sell more. Hence Henry Ford’s famous quote about paying his workforce enough to be able to buy his cars…

    Inflation can become a problem as you near full employment but as I said earlier there are ways to deal with this.

    Higher wages are a bit more of an issue for exporters who wouldn’t benefit from increased sales at home.

    Which suggests that under these circumstances it’s maybe better to keep the more labour-intensive stuff for the home market and the less labour-intensive for export…

    Or export stuff others can’t or don’t make (like the Germans who don’t have the cheapest wages…)

    On your point concerning the employing of the army of unemployed for socially useful things, Thatch had the Manpower Services thing in the eighties for this. Including flood defences…

  39. COLIN

    If Cyprus removes the levy on savings below 100k euro-the levy rises to 16%.

    Putin getting cross over 10%

    Rock & a hard place.

    What a mess.


    think you



    the request for



    of para


    a bit too




    Actually, many of your posts read like you’ve used a very old fashioned telegraph system.

  40. ALEC


    I should have mentioned both sectors criticised.

    It just seems to go on & on-there was a report on the poor treatment of disabled people the other day.

    Was listening to the Select Committee on the MId Staffs whistleblower this morning-a dreadful story.

  41. @ RiN

    Does any one know if the swing from labour to look is uniform.
    Ashcroft’s most recent marginal poll is the best we have on that. Labour were 114 seats on Anthony’s weighted average -> UNS at the time; & Ashcroft’s poll calculated an 84 seat majority for Labour so about 20 seats less than UNS.

  42. Cypriot banks do have bondholders-but not many :-

    “The island’s banks have about €68bn of deposits, which they use to fund their lending, with only minimal reliance – less than €3bn – on so-called wholesale funding in the bond markets.
    People who defend the Cypriot plan say the funding structure was the reason why there was no alternative to hitting depositors – junior bonds, which are being wiped out, amounted to just €2.5bn, while the €0.2bn of senior unsecured bonds have been left alone, on the grounds that to give them a haircut would generate a negligible economic contribution but undermine investor sentiment.”


    Apart from the poor savers, the big picture is that EZ Deposit Protection & with it the Grand Plan of a Banking Union are shot to pieces.

  43. or




  44. Alec, RiN,

    OK I simplified a bit. The Cypriot banks have a small amount of bonds issued but it is not enough to cover the amount needed. And they need the money fast – this week – not by defaulting on bonds whenever they fall due.


    There’s some info here:

  45. @Paul Croft

    What ‘Ave you

    got against

    The paragraphically challenged?

    If you look elsewhere on the net it has its uses… it’s handy for soundbites and FUD

    Eg “There’s no money tree!!” Etc.

  46. @GRHinPorts

    It seems that way, yes. The Con VI of 32 is the high end of the scale for their recent polling. Any higher, we have to go back a little:

    20th Feb – 33
    7th Feb – 33
    1st Feb – 34

    January was higher still. In fact you can see a general downward trend on my calendar month chart, which uses simple averaging.


    The MAD for UKIP jumped from 9.5 to 9.9 with this latest poll. Two jumps in two polls, but probably more to come this week. VIs of 9, 10 and 11 are valid, while 8s and 12s are outliers (on that particular system).

  47. The Cyprus bank proposal isn’t a tax, it’s a debt for equity swap. It will be interesting to see whether it is legal.

    Governments can, of course, charge taxes but can they force people to become shareholders? It will be interesting to find out because it could set a precedent with potentially wide ranging consequences.

  48. @Colin,

    Driving home last night, I caught the end of an interview with someone , I think, speaking on behalf of the financial sector, on Eddie Mair’s Radio 4 PM programme. In fact he was participating in a three way debate with Mair and a lady speaking on behalf of relatively modest savers and investors. I didn’t catch who she was either, but it was a fascinating discussion. They were discussing the Cypriot Government’s tax on, or seizure of, customers savings accounts as part of the bail-out conditions and our finance man had a rather extraordinary take on the situation although, in a rather counter-intuitive way, not an altogether surprising one. He was arguing that as a saver or investor you are in fact lending your money to the bank or financial institution in which you’re placing your money and, accordingly, you should be aware of the risk of not getting it all back. In other words, you haven’t really handed it over for safe keeping and with the possibility of the saving/investment appreciation, you had in fact, in the strictest sense, “loaned” your money to the financial institution.

    Of course, the woman speaking on behalf of the savers thought this an outrageous interpretation of the financial transaction that individuals thought that they were entering into, but it does beg the general question. How safe are any of these investment and saving schemes when desperate times require desperate measures from Banks and Governments?

  49. Amber,

    The Cypriot parliament is voting on it this evening. So presumably it will be legal if they say it is.

  50. This is why we need a ring fence.

    People putting their money into a bank may be aware the bank may lend the money. Actually banks do much of their lending by just magicking up the money much to the disgust of RiN, but I digress…

    But they expect the banks to lend responsibly. Which tended to happen more often when there was a split between retail and investment banking. Without that banks can make risky investments and put savers money at risk.

    Savers are not usually shareholders and are unlikely to take a cut of the banks’ profits so why should they take a hit for the losses? The savers are not investing in the bank, they are in effect renting their money to the bank for an agreed fee.

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