- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2009

BRIGHTON, England | British Treasury chief Alistair Darling said Monday that annual bonuses for bank executives will be outlawed in an attempt to curb excessive risk-taking in the country’s huge financial sector.

Mr. Darling told the governing Labor Party’s annual conference that new legislation to restrict how the payments are made will be introduced in Parliament within weeks.

Leaders of the Group of 20 of rich and developing countries agreed last week to limit executive bonuses, but did not set specific caps. Mr. Darling said bankers in Britain will in the future be offered bonuses for their performance over several years, rather than over 12 months.

“We won’t allow greed and recklessness to ever again endanger the whole global economy and the lives of millions of people,” Mr. Darling said.

He told the conference that new laws would include a claw-back provision and help to “end the reckless culture that puts short-term profits over long-term success.”

“It will mean an immediate end to automatic bank bonuses year after year. It will mean an end to immediate payouts for top management,” Mr. Darling said.

The plans, to be included in a new business- and financial-services bill, will be formally proposed in November, when Mr. Brown’s government sets out a legislative program for the next parliamentary session.

Mr. Darling told the rally that Britain’s economy has not yet recovered from the financial crisis, but he predicted the country is likely to come out of recession by the end of the year.

“Germany, France and Japan are showing signs of growth. There are many independent forecasters now believing, too, that the U.K. is coming out of recession,” he said. “I think it is too early to say so with total confidence.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labor Party trails badly in polls. A national election must be called by June.

Mr. Brown said Sunday that his party could recover if the economy rallies and the public gives him credit for averting a worse financial crisis.

“Electorally, we are in the fight of our lives,” Business Secretary Peter Mandelson told the conference. “And, yes, we start that fight as underdogs.”

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