Events over the past couple of years have raised profound questions about the ways in which banks and businesses contribute to society. For both to play their full part, they must restore trust and become better citizens in a publicly demonstrable way. For Barclays, Citizenship is about three things. Firstly, it’s about contributing to growth in the real economy and creating jobs and opportunities. Secondly, it’s about the way we do business; putting our customers’ interests at the heart of what we do and managing our impacts responsibility. Thirdly, it’s about supporting the communities in which we live and work, over and above our core business activities.
The global economy still faces some significant challenges despite the progress that has been made since the onset of the crisis, and those are particularly acute in Europe. In the UK, none of these is more pressing than the need to reduce the deficit and stimulate economic growth by creating jobs. I know Barclays has a pivotal role in supporting both of these objectives, especially for those of our customers and clients that are in difficulty.
Barclays provides banking services to millions of individuals across the world, supporting them in growing their businesses, managing their money or buying their homes. In 2011, we provided £43.6bn in new loans to UK businesses, including £14.7bn to small and medium-sized firms; and we supported over 100,000 new enterprises to get off the ground in the UK. We raised over US$1 trillion in funding for institutions in the capital markets around the world, helping those institutions access the money they need to pay pensions, and governments to finance essential infrastructure, social programmes and public services. In the UK, we helped 10,000 people buy their first home last year, part of 100,000 new mortgages we provided during 2011.
We seek to reinforce our integrity in the way that we manage our business and treat our customers. We understand that pay is a matter of significant interest for the public, as is the subject of corporate tax, especially given the economic environment in the UK. The decisions that we have taken on employee pay this year explicitly reflect this concern. Bonuses were lowered significantly across the organisation, while profits were down only marginally. We appreciate that this decline will not be sufficient in the eyes of some stakeholders, but we must remain commercially competitive to recruit and retain the most talented people to deliver sustainable value for our customers, clients and shareholders. That same principle applies to the way in which we manage Barclays tax affairs, and it is one of the reasons why we are determined to have a more transparent and frank discussion about the responsibilities that we have, as a multinational bank, to all those that we serve.
Like many businesses, we are increasingly concerned by the high levels of unemployment among young people, and the long-term problems this might cause, both for those individuals and for society. Our community investment programme is focused on providing young people with the necessary financial, enterprise and life skills to achieve economic independence and security. In 2011, we invested £63.5m across all of our community programmes. This activity reached over two million people globally, and I’m proud to say that more than 73,000 of our employees gave their time, skills and money to support local causes. We have also committed to creating 1,000 new apprenticeships in our branches and call centres in the UK.
Delivering on our Citizenship agenda will take time; restoring people’s trust may take longer. At Barclays, we have started this journey, but we still have a long way to go. Experience has shown us that decisive action is needed if our ambition to become a better citizen is to be both realised and believed. The challenges ahead will not detract from our commitment to demonstrating that Barclays is a good corporate citizen. I believe wholeheartedly that this is the right thing to do for our customers, shareholders and society as a whole.
As a testament to this commitment, our 2015 Citizenship Plan will launch later this year and will outline our key targets and ambitions. We look forward to hearing what you think about it, as we know that it will need to evolve over time so we can perform at our very best for all our stakeholders.