G20 to agree global banker bonus rules

By politics.co.uk staff

This Thursday’s G20 summit will see world leaders agree international rules governing bankers’ bonuses, Gordon Brown has said.

The prime minister’s announcement came after he delivered a speech on morality in the global recession to a gathering at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Banking bonuses, which have caused Mr Brown a major political headache at home and have provoked the ire of publics around the world, were not directly addressed at the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Horsham two weeks ago.

“On Thursday at the G20 world economies will agree international rules for the remuneration of bankers,” Mr Brown told the 1,500-strong audience.

“The difficulties in the past have led to us agreeing there will be global rules in this area.”

Mr Brown said the old “Washington consensus” was over and called on financial markets to mirror family values in his speech, organised by the St Paul’s Institute.

In a speech dedicated to securing “moral boundaries” the prime minister made repeated calls for a “shared moral sense” and said wealth should help more than just the wealthy.

“People who have worked hard to build up their firm or shop don’t understand why any company would give rewards for failure; or how some people have grown fabulously wealthy making failed bets with other people’s money,” he told the audience.

“Financial markets,” he continued, must be brought “into proper alignment with the values held by families and business people across our country – hard work, taking responsibility, being honest, being fair.”

The argument that “markets need morals” was taken up by Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, who addressed the gathering after Mr Brown.

“Unfettered free markets came to be worshipped as a god. And we know that god was false,” he said.

“Let us learn from history afresh. This crisis will test us greatly. But if we learn from history. we can craft a new future for all humankind, not just for some.”

During the question and answer session which followed, chaired by the Bishop of London, Mr Brown said he hoped the communiqué – a “moral document” – would enshrine the principles of the “global society” he hoped to achieve.

“There is a danger of a blame game while we try and solve the problems ahead,” the prime minister added.

“I understand that because people feel insecure. What we are trying to build is a truly global society where we have global rules founded on global values.”