Bankers will be wailing and gnashing their teeth today at the not-entirely unexpected news that Alistair Darling is taking their toys away and levying a Porsche-busting 50 per cent tax on their bonuses.
Well, while the heart does bleed, of more concern to residents of The Real World – and for the sake of argument let’s include lawyers in that – will be Darling’s sneaky raising of the National Insurance contribution rate (see story).
Naughty, naughty Mr Darling.
To give the Government some credit, it’s a classic diversionary tactic: “Look, we’re finally hitting those fat cats where it hurts! Huzzah!
“By the way, you lot don’t mind stumping up a bit for that pesky £178bn public deficit, do you?”
Of course what this means is that employers will face a serious rise in their payroll which, for those companies struggling to maintain any sort of margin, could spell the dreaded R word.
And law firms are by no means immune. This measure, coupled with what could be another slowdown in deal flow, may be the final straw for firms which have manfully resisted redundancy programmes through the recession.
Then again, there’s always an outside chance this Chancellor won’t be around much longer…