Across the pond, people fearful after Lehman fall

Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:01pm EDT
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By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - People from the restaurant to the cab trade prepared for the worse on Monday as the ripples of U.S. banking giant Lehman Brothers bankruptcy were felt across the Atlantic.

"This will directly affect us," said butcher Trevor Chelsea, 45, in London's Smithfield meat market. "We supply to restaurants in the City and when people lose their jobs there they will stop eating out."

"It is like the housing market. Everything is connected. It is not just the bankers who will be hurt but all the people in the places where they spend their money."

After the biggest banking failure in U.S. history, many people blamed the banks themselves for getting into trouble and the government regulators for letting them.

"First of all the Financial Services Authority -- I call them the Fundamentally Supine Authority -- should all be shot. They have sat back and allowed this mess to happen," said Andrew Brodie, 62, owner of the Plum Tree bar in central London.

"We need the government to assume some responsibility, to fund the banks cautiously but appropriately," he added.

The term "greed" was on many people's lips.

"It was greed and the bubble has burst," said London taxi driver Barry Hunt, 45. "They should change the rules to make the banks more cautious. They are now after what happened last year with the sub-prime problem. But they weren't before that."   Continued...

<p>A broker trades euros on the currency market at BGC Partners in London September 15, 2008. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>