I have received numerous comments condemning the BBC for paying Mr Ross such a large salary, and for broadcasting the uncouth remarks of the pair in their recent show. Like many others, I have spoken out against them, and was pleased to see the BBC take some belated disciplinary action. However, Mr Ross keeps his ridiculously generous contract. I do not think anyone working in the public sector and financed by taxpayers, as he is, should receive a seven figure salary, let alone £6 million a year. The BBC should be much more careful with licence payers money. Some big stars will still want to appear on it, as the BBC commands a large national audience and helps promotes the people who feature in its programmes. Many of these stars are still able to earn large sums from the private sector as well.
Several constituents have money tied up in the Isle of Man subsidiary caught up in the Icelandic crisis. The government and the FSA regulator needs to make more rapid progress in sorting out the tangled affairs of this institutions, so depositors can start to see some if not all of their money back. I am pushing the authorities to do more more quickly, to avoid too much of the money disappearing down a black hole of professional fees and other claims.
As I write the news is getting worse for small business. Many companies are now being squeezed by their banks, including by the banks that the government is buying shares in. There are rumours of big lay offs to come in the New Year, and plenty of signs that the downturn is sharp and upon us.
I have called for much lower interest rates to ease the pressures on borrowers. Others now have decided to join me, including the Chancellor. This is essential for depositors as well, to avoid more banks losing money they have lent to others, which in turn makes it difficult for them to pay the deposits back. I have made proposals that would allow more capital to be put into the banks at less cost to the taxpayer.
The government is going to find it is difficult owning nationalised banks, where many taxpayers will be alarmed if the losses become too large, whilst many borrowers will expect a more sensitive approach to their loans than form a commercial bank. I can see no reason why any nationalised bank should pay any bonus this year, given the state of the banks balance sheets and their need for taxpayer assistance. They should also be reducing the high pay at the top of their organisations, as again there is no reason why the taxpayer should e subsidising salaries of several hundred thousands, or even millions.
Government borrowing will go up in the recession, as tax revenues will be under pressure and more benefit bills will need to be paid. This makes it even more important the government is careful with the money, and gets best value for what it does spend. There is more comment and analysis of the credit crunch on www.johnredwood.com for those who would like it.