The last piece of Trussonomics still standing
In his autumn statement on Thursday, Jeremy Hunt lauded Margaret Thatcher’s 1986 deregulation of the City of London. Known as the ‘Big Bang’, these policies unshackled the financial sector, bringing the ‘greed is good’, yuppie culture of speculative banking to London. As unemployment topped 3 million, the financiers made a killing.
But the consequences went further. Many still blame the policies of the Big Bang for the reckless behaviour which fuelled the economic crash of 2008. Globally, as the City’s power grew, so did tax dodging schemes, speculation and a mountain of debt which saw wealth plundered from the majority of the world and channelled into the bank accounts of the super-rich. Here, the Big Bang helped cement the power of financial interests, which have shaped our country ever since.
The Big Bang was certainly momentous, but it is not something that should be celebrated by the chancellor today, least of all in a cost of living crisis. But behind Hunt’s words are some even more worrying actions. When it comes to financial deregulation, Rishi Sunak’s government remains committed to the disastrous experiment with ‘Trussonomics’.
A speculator’s charter
At the heart of this experiment is the Financial Services and Markets Bill – a speculator’s charter which will hand more power to the financial markets to dictate the prices of basic necessities like food and energy.
It’s clear that speculators are already playing an actively unhelpful role in the cost of living crisis. In the US, a former regulator of these commodity markets suggested that oil and gas prices could tumble by as much as 25% if politicians gave just a signal that they were about to regulate these markets.
But Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak are sending exactly the opposite message. Far from better regulation, they are proposing to slash the weak regulation which already exists, as part of a huge programme of deregulation which places the demands of rich shareholders ahead of a more stable and equal financial system.
We’ve got to stop them. In the coming weeks, the bill will return to the floor of the House of Commons. We will need to mobilise to lobby MPs ahead of this vital debate. In the meantime, we need to sound the alarm about this bill and build the petition calling on the government to abandon its plans to hand more power to the speculators.
As in the 1980s, those least responsible are being made to pay the highest price to solve a mess they didn’t create. And the consequences won’t just be felt here, but right around the world. We can’t allow it. To give financiers even greater power to gamble on our food and our energy prices is disastrous. Help us defeat this government’s modern Big Bang.
Photo: Simon Walker/No 10 Downing Street