Labour hits outs at ‘sickening’ anniversary gathering by former Lehman staff

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Labour has condemned plans for a Lehman Brothers staff reunion as “sickening”, as bankers gear up for the 10-year anniversary of its collapse.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell was reacting to reports that hundreds of former workers are set to meet at a secret location in London to share cocktails and canapes on September 15.

The day marks a decade since Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, just over a year after the credit crunch began.

The email invitation for the reunion, which was seen and first reported by Financial News, was addressed to “Lehman Brothers & Sisters”.

It said: “It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the last of our Lehman days! … One of the best things about Lehman was the people.

“What better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary than getting everyone from former MDs to former analysts back together again!”

Mr McDonnell said: “This is absolutely sickening after a decade of people suffering austerity.

“It’s particularly disgraceful in the context of all the people who lost their jobs and homes to pay for bailing out these bankers who caused the financial crash, as well as against a backdrop of firefighters, police officers and other public servants facing years of brutal Tory pay restraint.

“People will be absolutely disgusted about this unacceptable and highly inappropriate gathering.”

Reunions are also expected to take place in New York in September and Hong Kong in November.

The failure of the US banking giant became one of the most infamous and shocking moments of the crisis, spiralling the credit crunch into full-blown market chaos.

This autumn will also mark 10 years since the UK Government threw a multibillion-pound taxpayer lifeline to the banking sector, taking stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds TSB and HBOS

Lloyds TSB would go on to take over ailing HBOS to become Lloyds Banking Group, which at its peak was 43% owned by the taxpayer and only went fully private again in 2017.

The UK Government still holds about 62% of RBS.

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