Since the financial crisis, 84% of the stock of Royal Bank of Scotland has been owned by the British government. British taxpayers have underwritten the sum of £45 billion spent buying up RBS stock. Could there be anything more extraordinary than RBS – whilst owned by a Conservative-led government – spending money on a left-wing social engineering initiative? From the last issue of Mail on Sunday, 21 October:
Royal Bank of Scotland will tomorrow launch a £1.5 million fund to boost the number of women starting a business. Over the next three years RBS will issue ten grants of up to £50,000 a year each to organisations with ‘dedicated enterprise programmes’ working to boost female start-ups.
The Inspiring Women in Enterprise scheme is part of a wider RBS Group initiative called Inspiring Enterprise, which looks to grow entrepreneurship and boost the number of social enterprises. The bank will publish a report tomorrow that shows the rate of self-employment among women has consistently remained half that of men. In 2011, just over 10% of men were in the early stages of setting up a business compared with just 5% of women.
Chris Sullivan, chief operating officer of RBS corporate banking, said: ‘We want to unlock the huge economic potential of women and remove the barriers that stand in their way when it comes to setting up a business.’
Give me strength. What ‘barriers’ stand in the way of potential female entrepreneurs, but not in the way of male entrepreneurs? This is pathetic stuff, and RBS might as well set fire to the £1.5 million. But we shouldn’t be too surprised by any of this. RBS’s chairman Sir Philip Hampton has long been an enthusiastic supporter of ‘improved’ gender diversity on boards and elsewhere, and… need it be said?… he’s a member of the 30% club.