The UK Chancellor’s budget is rarely a cause for much celebration, while the obligatory leaks in the days beforehand suck every element of surprise out of his announcements, but one little gem might have passed you by on 22 November (as it appears in the documents only and not in the speech). In the old days, the Financial Services Authority kept all income from penalties levied on banks and used that income to subsidise the cost of its fees to banks. But in 2012, the then-Chancellor George Osborne announced that “the multi-million pound fines paid by banks and others who break the rules will go to the benefit of the public and not to other banks”. And so, under the Financial Services Act 2012, the Financial Conduct Authority committed to returning all income from “penalty receipts” (i.e. banking fines) above its enforcement costs to the Exchequer.
In the same year – 2012 – HM Treasury announced that the proceeds from LIBOR fines specifically would be used to support armed forces and emergency services charities, and “other related good causes that represent those that demonstrate the very best of values”. (You see the point being made, that the LIBOR lot did not demonstrate these…) And as part of his Autumn Budget 2017, current Chancellor Philip Hammond committed the final £36 million gathered in such fines to be paid over the next three years to eighty-two charities, including the Royal British Legion (to receive £1,500,000), Help for Heroes (£1,441,370) and the Army Benevolent Fund (£1,225,444). This brings the total LIBOR lolly committed to charities since 2012 to £773 million. And a further £200 million collected in LIBOR fines has been given to the Department for Education to spend on 50,000 apprenticeships. Hurrah!