Britain must back entrepreneurs who run profitable businesses and create jobs, despite anger over the behaviour of bankers, an MP has warned.
James Morris (Con Halesowen and Rowley Regis) attacked the banks, warning: “bonuses and rewards simply got out of control”.
But he also said there was a danger that anger at bankers’ bonuses and greed could turn into general hostility towards successful businesses.
He was speaking in a Commons debate on the behaviour of banks following controversy over the £963,000 bonus awarded to Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Stephen Hester. who eventually turned down the bonus following widespread criticism.
Former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin was also stripped of his knighthood last month following criticism of his actions when he ran the bank.
Mr Morris said: “It is perfectly viable for us to be against the bonus culture that built up but also very pro-business, and it is important that we are.
“We need to celebrate the success of entrepreneurs, wealth creators and small businesses. As I have said, they represent the future of the British economy and create the jobs and skills that we need for the future.”
Speaking in the same debate, Birmingham MP Jack Dromey (Lab Erdington) said: “The time has come to tax the bankers, build homes, put people ... back to work, and create apprenticeships and hope for our young people.”
Adrian Bailey (Lab West Bromwich West) said some bankers were continuing to enjoy huge incomes while the rest of the country suffered for their mistakes, adding: “To most people in the street, there is something perverse about a system that punishes people on low and medium incomes for something for which they were not responsible.”
Margot James (Con Stourbridge) defended Mr Hester, saying: “This country and its taxpayers would be dealt a mighty blow if the chief executive, Stephen Hester, were to react to the terrible publicity that he has had to endure by leaving that taxpayer-owned bank.”