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King says banking bailout 'unfair'

Bank of England governor Mervyn King has described the huge banking bailout as "unfair" and appeared to sympathise with calls for multibillion-pound tax evasion to be tackled when he spoke to union activists.

Mr King told the TUC gathering in Manchester that he understood the strength of feeling over the size of bankers' bonuses, and said "radical reform" of the UK's financial system is needed.

The 62-year-old faced minor protests from some banner-waving delegates and a walkout by the Rail Maritime and Transport union delegation, who retreated to their exhibition stand to watch children's TV.

He was also told bluntly that bankers were "greedy" and that he had failed in his job.

As he waited to speak, delegates called for a high pay commission to investigate the "out of control" wages of executives and other high earners.

The Communication Workers Union said a commission should examine the difference between the highest and lowest pay in leading companies.

General secretary Billy Hayes said: "The blatant double standards in pay for those at the top of companies compared to those at bottom is outrageous and leads to dissatisfaction and a divided society of haves and have-nots."

During his 20-minute speech, only the second by a Bank of England governor to the TUC, Mr King warned that the Government risked plunging the UK back into crisis if it did not reduce Britain's record deficit.

Amid union fury over next month's planned public sector spending cuts, the central bank boss said "vague promises would not have been enough".

Mr King said he believed it was vital the Government set out a clear plan for reducing the deficit and warned that the UK could otherwise have suffered the kind of woes seen in Greece.

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