British singer Billy Bragg has threatened to withhold his tax money until the U.K. Government stops banks using taxpayers' money to pay employees big bonuses.
The 52-year-old political activist is fuming after discovering Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) plans to hand its investment bankers GBP1.5 billion ($2.5 billion) in bonuses next month (Feb10) - after agreeing to slash payouts during the worldwide financial crisis.
Bailouts mean the U.K. Government owns 84 per cent of RBS Group.
Bragg has taken to his page on social networking website to campaign against the bonus checks in a rant entitled NoBonus4RBS - inviting other British taxpayers to follow his lead.
He writes, "I understand that the Treasury had little choice but to use taxpayers' money to safeguard savings and stabilise and restore confidence in the financial system. What I don't understand is why, now that we taxpayers are the majority shareholders of these banks, we seem totally powerless to curb their excessive bonus culture?
"I believe that the government have their priorities wrong. I have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister), Alistair Darling, to inform him that I am no longer prepared to fund the excessive bonuses of RBS investment bankers. Unless he acts to limit them to 25,000 pounds ($40,720), I shall be withholding my tax payment on 31st January."
However, the U.K. Treasury has moved to calm concerned taxpayers.
A Treasury spokesman says: "We can reassure people there will not be a significant amount of taxpayers' cash going to bonuses at RBS."