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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 November 2009

RBS/Lloyds - Yet more bailouts and job cuts

DISGRACED EX-RBS boss, Fred 'the shred' Goodwin (notorious for sacking workers), must have produced a wry smile when the government instructed the largely nationalised bank to sell off 318 high street branches shedding a further 3,700 workers.

RBS, which was bailed out with 20 billion of public money during the recent banking crisis, has already axed 16,500 jobs in its investment banking arm and from its back office staff.

The government will inject a further 25 billion, taking the government's share of RBS to 84%. Chancellor Alistair Darling will also provide an extra 8 billion in 'contingency funding'.

Part-nationalised (43.5%) Lloyds bank will also receive an additional 5.7 billion on top of the earlier 17 billion bailout funding. Like RBS, Lloyds will dispose of more than 600 branches over the next four years. In return RBS and Lloyds bosses say they will defer paying themselves lucrative bonuses!

All that appears to be happening is that the profitable parts of RBS and Lloyds will be sold off while the banks' toxic assets remain with the taxpayer.

The sell-offs, along with the sale of the 'best bits' of earlier nationalised Northern Rock, have been demanded by the European Commission to "safeguard competition" ie to satisfy the commercial demands of the other non-bailed out banks.

Such a move confirms what the Socialist Party argued during this year's European elections and what our counterparts in Ireland argued in the recent re-run Lisbon Treaty referendum, that the European Union is a glorified bosses' club, pursuing a neo-liberal economic agenda at the expense of workers' jobs and living standards.

Instead of bailouts, we demand socialist nationalisation of the banks and major financial institutions as part of an overall plan of production, without compensation to fat cats.

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