January 23rd, 2014
I’ve long wondered how committed the Labour shadow business secretary and MP for Streatham Chuka Umunna really is to UK banking reform. It seems the answer is “not very”.
In the furore that followed the publication of the Tomlinson Report on November 25 last year, a report which (accurately, in my view) accused RBS and NatWest of seeking to kill off some of their own business customers in order to profit from their demises, one of the loudest voices seeking to rubbish Tomlinson was Chuka Umanna’s.
I raised concerns on the independence of the Tomlinson report into banks’ lending practices in the Commons today. More to follow on that.
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) December 5, 2013
Well, if you want to know why Umanna might have an interest in smearing Tomlinson by accusing him of a lack of independence, and by extension defending the behaviour of RBS, you need to read the article below, published on page five of the current edition of Private Eye (No 1358 24 January – 6 Feb 2014).
The fact PWC provides Umanna with the free services of PWC staff on secondment to his office, worth £90,000 a year, might just have something to do with it. Like KPMG, PWC is up to its neck in the whole RBS/NatWest global restructuring group scandal, having handled some of the more controversial administrations of companies that were “purposefully distressed”.
One might have thought the notion that a senior Labour figure such as Umunna would defend the likes of PWC and RBS against the small and medium-sized firms that they have effectively “raped and pillaged” would be unthinkable in the wake of the fall from grace of former prime minister and City cheerleader, Gordon Brown. Especially given that Umunna, 35, purports to support small businesses and even sent a volley of tweets to support small businesses in the Streatham area of south London that he represents during ‘Small Business Saturday’ events last December.
I took some time out at EarlGreyandRose earlier to explain why our small businesses are so important – video here: http://t.co/sOkDG7F8fg
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) December 7, 2013
Sadly, it seems Umunna, a former solicitor with RBS’s lawyers Herbert Smith, who is today only too happy to take free “research” support and advice from PricewaterhouseCoopers, seems to be very much on the side of big banks and the “Big Four” accountancy firms.
It’s worth remembering that PWC, well known for its pivotal role in the global tax avoidance industry, its self-interested promotion of the now discredited funding mechanism PFI/PPP, its “mafia like” handling of scores of prepacks and other insolvencies, is currently also defending itself from allegations that, as an auditor, it connived to mask wrongdoing and accounting jiggery-pokery at scores of banks worldwide before, during and after the global financial crisis. It also helped the FSA with a report that was extremely helpful to RBS, the FSA and the government in 2009-11.