Friday 3 September 2010


Royal Bank of Scotland has just announced that in a further move to reduce costs another 3,500 jobs will go across the UK. Of course as the bank is 80+% owned by you and me, saving money would seem to be a good thing. Surely the leaner and meaner the bank can look to potential buyers of the shares, the sooner the British government can get rid of theirs and get back to do what it is supposed to be doing.

The jobs it seems are to go across ‘back office’ functions in the business services division. I suppose that is fair enough as there is so much less business to service, thanks to the banks themselves. It will mean the closure of 12 of its business services centres across the UK and put a further 3 under review for closure.

The job cuts, which will involve between 12 and 15 centres across the UK, and which will start next year and run on till the end of 2012, come on top of the same division's 9,000 job cuts announced last year. Additionally RBS is to close half its Churchill and Direct Line offices with further 2000 job losses and another 600 job cuts at head office in Edinburgh.

Some of the jobs lost in the UK will be relocated to China, India and the United States. Fortunately it is reported that there will be some work, and staff transferred to RBS’s offices in Greenock and Edinburgh.

This scale of job loss, described as a horror story by the Unite union, is I fear just the start of a winter of horror stories; job losses, home repossessions and general all round misery, as prices increase and some benefits are cut. Inflation for the poorest is already at a far higher level than the Treasury suggests, with expected increases in the prices of many staples because of the foul summer weather across the world, and a small VAT rise on other necessities. Let us hope that the power companies can keep their prices low, or that if not, this government will do what the French government does, and limit their ability to raise prices beyond inflation.

It is difficult to know whether the leaks of complete carnage across the Civil Service are designed to make us fear the worst, and the October statement by Mr Osborne will be greeted with sighs of relief all round....or if it is all too true and too horrible, designed to get to grips with the idiotic financial fiasco left by Labour.

The fear is that the UK along with the US is headed for a second recession. The US economy to which Scotland sells around 10% of its total exports certainly looks shaky and the European countries, which make up the bulk of Scotland’s exports (around 66%) are not long out of recession.
We cannot expect the private sector to be able to pull us out of this mess.

I just hope that Mr Osborne is as clever as his publicity tells us he is. There is a very great deal riding on his supposed talents.


  1. Tris, I'm not sure if you're aware from the tone of your other excellent post, but there's no VAT on food.

  2. Thanks DL. Actually I did know that (honest!!) (and I think on children's clothes, books and newspapers), but I saw immediately how unclear I'd made it in the post.

    Thanks for pointing it out. I hope the change I've made has clarified it.

    The VAT increase, pretty insignificant though it is, will add to the inflationary costs on items other than the exempt items....household goods, clothes, petrol...etc.

  3. Tris.

    Edinburgh is being hit hard by job cuts at the moment. Standard life and now RBS. If the job cuts are essential to secure the future of the companies then all is fine (unless you are one of the workers) but with both companies forecasting strong profit growth then it seems to me a bit ridiculous that they should be cutting jobs.

    It will be interesting if Unite will ballot its bank members to go on strike over the cuts because when the same sort of cuts fall on the public sector workers then all hell will break out.

    Unfortunately Labour has left us all in a right pickle and must of us will have to pay for the mess, unfortunately in some cases it will mean losing your job.

    Another point. If the USA does dip back into recession then the UK will too. The Americans even said this themselves.

  4. Yes. I agree Allan. Whilst it isn’t the purpose of a commercial company to create jobs, I guess they are really there to make money and to provide a service to people, it does seem to me to be an odd thing to do when the profits are up, the people at the risky end of the business are getting huge bonuses and everything is looking fine.

    I don’t believe in strikes until and unless there is no other way to get some sort of justice. I’m certainly no fan of trades unions, dominated as they are by militants.

    [I have to say though that that is an third hand observation rather than an actual experience. A few years ago I worked for a few months for JobCentre Plus, one of the most stultifying experiences of my working life (the only time I’ve worked in a unionized shop), and the union rep there was a close friend of the manager. He seemed to be completely oblivious to the terrible conditions the staff were working under (mainly due to the unbelievable incompetence of said manager.]

    But sometimes people just have to put their foot (or feet0 down and say No.

    We are not going to get out of this mess by paying massive bonuses to the people at the top and making the people at the bottom redundant.

    The rest of us should care about this. Firstly because what is the RBS today could be your job tomorrow, and secondly because I already seem to have to wait in interminable queues to see anyone in the bank, or the council or wherever I go. Fewer staff usually equals longer queues, more errors, more frustration, even unhappier Britain.

  5. Interesting take on things Tris.

    But, what about the Labour bank tax? You remember, that one-off that Darling said would change bankers behaviour but didn't?

    It may have yielded a huge one off windfall bumper profit for the exchequer, but rather than role back on the bonuses the banks simply paid them once they could - and paid for the inevitable Darling tax-fine by cutting jobs elsewhere.

    And why wouldn't they? London is a huge, vast and important financial centre, and all those bankers [you know, they ones with the HUGE skills] could have walked.

    Maybe Labour policies caused a round of job-losses? More so than anyone in the mainstream media seem willing to say or speculate on?

  6. Yep Dean,

    No doubt about it. The set of idiots at the Treasury under the Brown administration made a complete mess of the business with bankers and their bonuses.

    That man Myner or what ever his name is, was brought in to the government and given a place in the aristocrats' house so he could sort all this out. He was supposed to be one of them and know how to beat them at their own game... huh. Well that was a Lord-hood for nothing!

  7. "And why wouldn't they? London is a huge, vast and important financial centre, and all those bankers [you know, they ones with the HUGE skills] could have walked."

    Was! Full of corporate gamblers on the world markets who can't lose as the taxpayers end up paying when they become bankrupt. They should of been allowed to walk off a short plank.

    Why should the UK populace subsidise global banks as there is a lot more to come -20% to -40% devaluation of housing.

  8. CH:

    I have always taken the attitude that if someone threatens me with something in the hopes that I will change my mind... I call their bluff.

    If the bankers want to go somewhere else (where?) then I say... bye bye. don't let the door hit you on the butt as you go.

    I suspect that they wouldn't have gone far. New York bankers were talking about going to London... so they could have changed places. As for Bejing, New Delhi, Qatar... I dount they'd last long there.

    They'd soon be back.

  9. Just to be clear, there is VAT on cooked take away food right?

    I very much doubt Osborne's ability in this respect and am assuming that the October statement is like the emergency budget hyped to the heavens to be bad so that we can all thank the coalition when it isnt. A PR tactic? A bit like saying you are going to abolish Salad Cream so that the Sun can get up a campaign to save it-sells loads of Salad Cream and loads of copies of the Sun-but in the end all a con.

    Either that or its going to be a double whammy and really bad but in that case why not meet out some of the pain in the emergency budget? Why have an emergency budget anyway?

  10. Only in the heated imagination of Munguin is there any deceit by Osborne! A world where it it is a sign of misjudgement to save money when running for high office!

    tut tut

  11. Dean you are mixing your messages on here and people are not going to know what you mean. So to use a hackneyed phrase much loved by Tories new (Nick Clegg) and old (David Cameron) “let’s be clear” this is a reference to a discussion on Dean’s blog about the William Hague sleeping with his aide gate: I feel a judicious bit of cutting and pasting from your blog should serve so here goes:

    I said:

    “My God, just over three months in and the Tory trousers are dropping like Autumn leaves. It does not take the Tories long to get stuck into the sex scandals and sleaze does it? If there is nothing untoward then why has the guy had to resign? No smoke without fire as they say!

    And the desperate play of the sympathy card was quite disgusting, reminiscent in many ways of Gordon Browns televised bubble only he waited three years to play that card rather than three months. If you are not careful you will have played all the tricks in your hand before a year is out.”

    Dean said:


    He has done nothing wrong. Get your facts right.”

    I said:

    “Dean: I agree its certainly not illegal to sleep with William Hauge....yet!”

    Dean said:


    Myers didn't sleep with Hague; the fact that you find it likely just 'cos they shared a room together is absurd.”

    I said:

    “Dean: if that is the strength of the judgements that Hague makes then he really should be in a lesser position and certainly nothing that effects Scotland, (say communities secretary). He should have A. known how that would look to a media desperate for any titillating gossip B. Be aware that rumours about his sexuality have been circulating for years C. Be aware that in a short while he would be in one of the big three jobs in the country and D put all of the above together and not acted like an complete idiot. If that is the sort of calls he makes God help us all!”

    Dean said:

    So anyone in high office cannot share a bedroom to save money? Is that the strength of your argument Munguin? Really?

    I said:

    “Well Dean as it was during electioneering the country was not picking up the bill I imagine the Tory Party was, so why the need to save money in this way. And either way I imagine it was not just William and his attractive advisor on this electioneering junket, so why not share a room with some ugly old man (and God knows there are plenty in the Tory Party) if saving money was of paramount importance?

    You see Dean it just doesn’t make sense. Either he was shagging this guy or his judgement is crap and he should not be Foreign Secretary.

    There is strong evidence that the latter is the case: evidence the silly baseball cap incident and of course the unbelievably naive wangling a Lordhood for Ashcroft on the understanding that he would actually pay UK tax (which of course as soon as he got his ermine Lord Ashcroft did a two fingered salute to the British Tax payer and to wee Wullie and toddled off back to Belize City to count his billions and write his maiden speech).

    There have also been rumours for years about his sexuality both before and after his marriage in 1997 so it’s not a leftist internet plot at all.

    Oh and he wasn’t in high office at that point Dean it was before the election remember but there was a good chance he might be soon, but clearly he never thought about that at all.”

    Tris sorry for the digression. But Dean I though I had explained the point!

  12. You are being absurd Munguin.

    He never did anything wrong, he did it to save money, he didn't think people [like yourself] would care so much if he shared a room with a work colleague. And he was in high office at the time, shadow [soon to be actual] Foreign Sec is high public office to hold.

    So, isn't the point here that you'r just objecting to this because you smell half an opportunistic chance at sticking one to a Tory?

    Immature, sad, bad and ugly Munguin!

  13. Ah right... LOL Ok Munguin. I wondered what that was all about.

    I do agree that there is VAT on cooked food or rather takeaway food, though.

    Fish supper, salt and vinegar and VAT (and a pickled opnion)

  14. Dean

    I hate to intervene in your erm, discussion with Munguin, so I won't...

    But I was rolling about on the floor at your description of him....

  15. Dean: shadow foreign secretary is not a high office of state as is evidenced by the fact that it brings no salary at all, so at the time wee Wullie was just an MP, one among many. I don’t think it’s absurd and neither does one of your own Guido Fox who spread this around the internet like jam. What is absurd is your desperate claims that GF is a leftist blogger, get real!

    However, you want to couch it, it was a bad call. It was a stupid thing to do and God knows that wee Wullie has made enough of them. Started early didn’t he with that “you’ll all be dead in twenty years” nasal comment at 16 and it’s been down hill ever since. What’s immature is your point blank refusal to recognise that he has made a mistake of any description. None of the readers of your own blog agreed with you so I very much doubt you will have any better luck here!

  16. Munguin,

    "However, you want to couch it, it was a bad call"

    Why? How is sharing a room with a work colleague a 'bad call'? Are you really suggesting that two men cannot be trusted to share bedrooms together unless they are related by blood?

    Laughable and utterly rubbish.

    "What is absurd is your desperate claims that GF is a leftist blogger"

    On social issues, he definately is! He supports abortion, opposes capital punishment and isn't exactly forthcoming in his support for families ... he regards in; like Clarke; as social engineering ... if you think any of that is 'right wing', your on cloud nine!

  17. Dean it is not just another opportunity just to have a go at the Tories. Although God knows they leave so many open goals. A much better one would surely be the Andy Coulson situation where yet again the Tories don’t seem to be able to think in a joined up fashion. Discredited ex editor of the News of the World is taken on by the Tories as a media advisor? I mean HELLO, is there anybody at home? Talk about a monumental faux pas, that’s even better than the wee Wullie one and yet you will notice that neither has featured as a story on this blog. Kind of makes a nonsense of your claim that I am just out for cheap shots at the Tories.

    Funny though how all the Tories chortled along when it was the Labour Government we were all bashing but now that its the Tories we are now needless Tory bashers for no reason?

  18. Munguin,

    I see you duck the main point: How is sharing a room with a work colleague a 'bad call'? Are you really suggesting that two men cannot be trusted to share bedrooms together unless they are related by blood?

    Any answers other than, 'oh but he's a Tory', no smoke without fire - drivel. McCarthyesque drivel.

    And you are someone who loves bashing Tories. I have never heard you report once on the progressive changes we have made since coming to power ... too much against the grain on your arguments - that Tory bad, SNP good?

  19. Well Dean you are not exactly on message yourself when it comes to the Tory agenda are you? Support for the EU jumps immediately to mind! But you would still not call yourself a leftist blogger would you?

    I didn’t say there was anything wrong with sharing a room with a male colleque. What I said was wrong was that he should have anticipated the impression it would have caused and taken steps to ameliorate that, like I would expect someone intelligent who aspires to one of the three key jobs in Government to be able to do. Not to proceed to score an own goal in the most cack handed fashion.

  20. Dean try to give me an opportunity to not duck the main point. I can’t type any quicker you know! I don’t think I’m going to accept a lecture from you on ducking difficult points Dean. I can think of many where you have been guilty of just that.

  21. Dean that’s because I think what you describe as a progressive agenda is a cataclysmic mistake! When the Tories do something I think is good or right you have my word I will report favourably on it. But that has not happened yet. I said before the election that the nasty party had not changed its spots and guess what it hasn’t. As for your assertion that I never criticise the SNP that is foolish garbage. I do and I have and on here too. Neither Tris nor I are slavish nodding dogs for the SNP and I rather resent that assertion.

  22. When the Tories do something I think is good or right you have my word I will report favourably on it. But that has not happened yet"

    So restoring the pensions to inflation link isn't 'right'?

    Nor, according to you, was it progressive to raise the poorest paid out of paying tax altogether; getting the rich to pay instead...

    Seems your definition of 'progressive' needs reforming! Or are you reading too much Daily Record nowadays?

    Plus, again, your main argument is that it a failure of judgement to share a room with a work colleague ... unless Hague broadcasts it, or films it, or somehow mitigates the sour mindset of the suspicious tittle-tattle peddlers?

    Nonsense. Try again!

    Finally, I maintain that you are guilty of a concerted anti-Tory agenda, the same as the Record, or Hootsman. The only difference is that you also push a deeply pro-Nationalist agenda [capital 'N']

  23. Dean are we having a circular argument again? I’m not going to be diverted into discussing what is or is not “progressive” in the Tory agenda. I’m not here to do a detailed critique of what’s good and bad in the party in government.

    Whatever you say it was a failure of judgement not to be able to anticipate these ridiculous own goals. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, scandal and tittle tattle sell papers. A switched on politician should be able to anticipate and ameliorate, therefore, this was a shocking lapse of judgement on Hague’s part. That’s what it is Dean no matter how you dress it up. It was a custard pie and he walked into it. Simple!

    I do not push a deeply nationalist agenda Dean. I do push a deeply republican one. That should not be difficult for people to figure our seeing as the word “republic” is in the title. So no coconut for that one, maybe you should join me here on cloud nine, Lord Ashcroft’s here already and desperate for a weep. Maybe he should just look down and see the disasterous mess the Tories are making, not so much a foot in the mouth as both feet and the wifes/boy friend!

  24. Dean

    Has either of these things actually happened yet?

  25. Tris,

    Yes - as a result of the emergency budget the poorest are being raised out of paying tax altogether; progressive politics - and all in the budget. The emergency budget also restored the link between pensions and inflation [or earnings, whatever is higher]. All in the programme. Progressive.

  26. Munguin,

    I see we are destined to disagree on this. But I, like Allan Duncan; do not believe that this reflects bad or poor judgement at all. And any attempt by yourself to make it into a matter of judgement relating to his capacity to do his job is absurd.

    But we shall have to disagree.

  27. Dean: there is a surprise Alan Duncan thinks Hauge is great, of course he has oodles of loot himself and would not need to stay in a travel lodge with his aide. Of course he blotted his own copy book with that comment about being treated like dirt didn't he? Own goal...Yes...score!

    Lets see: Quentin Letts and Simon Heffer both think, like me, it is a question of judgement, so it seems you are in a very small minority.

    Really Dean is that the best you can do to substantiate your point. Why not just say that your Auntie Nelly agrees with you its the same sort of thing.