Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Why Barclays Don't Want Gordon Brown's Bailout


As ‘negotiations’ continue between the authorities and a number of banks – notably Lloyds-TSB, RBS and HBOS - the terms for the great Brown Bailout have been seeping out. Bonus policy, foreclosures, lending to SMEs, dividends … Brown is in seventh heaven as he dreams of calling the shots in all these areas, and doubtless his shopping-list will lengthen if he feels he’s making headway.

HSBC is only too happy to be above the fray. But why was the smaller and apparently more precarious Barclays so keen to avoid taking Brown’s Bounty ?

My spies in the City tell me that there’s another price to pay for the Darling Dole: banks must forswear promoting and funding ‘tax schemes’. Long the bane of the HMRC, banks have had whole divisions beavering away
, on behalf of themselves and numerous clients, corporate and private alike, at wheezes to deprive the government of tax revenues .

And none more so than Barclays, whose clever (and entirely legal) tax schemes, particularly on the VAT front, are a significant business line. Some of their wheezes – that trick of avoiding VAT on new computer systems, eh, lads ? – have sent the HMRC into apoplexy.

So – it’s Qatari capital and freedom, for independently-minded Barclays; and Brown can keep his bailout. How long before Lloyds decide it’s not worth the candle ?

ND

10 comments:

John B said...

Lloyds don't really do i-banking and clever tax stuff like Barclays, AIUI...

rwendland said...

Isn't the other Barclays/govt problem the partial Lehman takeover? Barclays has promised to pay about $2.5 billion in back bonuses to Lehman staff as part of the takeover, so any UK govt money given to Barclays might directly/indirectly be used to pay massive bonuses to ex-Lehman staff in New York (while UK Lehman staff are tossed aside).

Surely this is a huge political problem with govt money going to Barclays. Could Barclays back out of the partial Lehmans takeover?

(And it seems some in the U.S. are/were eyeing up hijacked this backpay in the courts to pay U.S. Lehman creditors.)

Blue Eyes said...

If Barclays doesn't need the cash why would the government want to force it upon them unless it had ulterior motives..?

Nick Drew said...

John, hi, you're right but I'm sure they've been given good reason to wonder whether they can escape the net, too - it's surely only the HBOS deal that drags them into the govt's clutches

hope they're negotiating hard ! I think they have a few cards to play

Mr E - not energy this time, eh ? again, let's hope Barclays have their wits about them

BE - ah, the rhetorical questions now, eh ? (but I think they did need some cash & the bold fellows went and found it for themselves)

James Schneider said...

Gosh, the bold fellows got their own money. What a shock. They should watch out for the forced part-nationalisations that Paulson now appears keen on.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

The mad snot gobbler in Downing St. has always fantasised about taking control of the banking sector. That's their real agenda.

Nick Drew said...

James, Seb - strange bedfellows, these Pan-Atlantic nationalisers!

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