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Barclays boss Diamond defends City culture and asks for "blame game" to stop


Barclays Group's new chief executive Bob Diamond (pictured) yesterday defended the remuneration culture of the UK financial sector, telling the Treasury committee that "competitive pay for performance is not pay for failure".

The Massachusetts-born banker, who succeeded John Varley as Barclays chief executive on 1 January this year, spoke to the select committee, chaired by Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, as part of its inquiry into "competition and choice in the banking sector".

Accompanied by Antony Jenkins, chief executive, global retail banking, Diamond told the committee that the biggest problem was overcoming the period of "blame" that the banking sector has recently experienced.

"There was a period of remorse and apology for banks – that period needs to be over," Diamond said. "We need banks to able to take risk, working with the private sector in the UK."

Diamond’s answers received widespread condemnation. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber called him "the poster boy for everything that is wrong about Britain today".

The Independent reported yesterday that Barclays' bonus pool is estimated at £2.5 billion. At the same time, 2,000 Barclays employees are undergoing redundancy.

Speaking to HR, a spokesperson from Barclays said that bonuses at the bank are not determined until the last minute and that all decisions would be made within the spirit and letter of the law, but could not provide comment on the reported redundancies.