George Osborne wrote a strident article for the Observer last weekend, in which he called rich tax evaders “leeches”. As James
Forsyth reveals in the cover story of this week’s magazine, Osborne is not alone among Tories in
hounding the ‘undeserving rich’ at present. James goes on to argue that the Tories are ‘becoming particularly worried’ about the callous rich because the Vickers commission
is poised to bring the emotive issue of banks back to the ‘political frontline’.
The Vickers report has already irritated the coalition’s sore points, with disagreement allegedly rife between George Osborne and Vince Cable. Today’s FT offers a fresh angle. Osborne and Cable are in fact remarkably close in their thinking, both
apparently believe that Vickers’ recommendations should be set down in legislation during this parliament and enacted in the second half of this decade.
The government’s unease about Vickers, the FT says, lies with Cameron. The paper reports that Cameron is adamant that nothing must be done that puts jobs and businesses at risk, which is
roughly the line that Barclays’ boss Bob Diamond is expected to take when he meets George Osborne for emergency talks on Vickers today. The FT adds that the PM has been receptive to the concerns of
banking lobbyists. Cameron is expected to raise these points at the Quad’s meeting next week, according the FT.
Government types certainly are exercised about the issues surrounding the perceived ‘underserving rich’. But, if the FT’s report is accurate, it suggests that Cameron’s
premier concern is growth or rather the lack of it.