Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Government only talking tough on Northern Rock

Responding to reports that the Treasury has told the Virgin-led consortium
that it is the frontrunner to take control of Northern Rock but
nationalisation is currently regarded as the better outcome for the
taxpayer, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable said:

“I would like to believe that the Government has finally seen sense and
recognised that in the current market conditions temporary public
ownership is the best way to safeguard taxpayers' interests.

“I fear however that the Government is determined to make a private sale
to Richard Branson's consortium and may just be talking tough in order to
extract some last minute concessions.

“These will then be used to camouflage a bad deal in which the Virgin
consortium takes the profits and the taxpayer is left with most of the

Those of us who signed a petition, headed "No City Bail-Out", to 10 Downing Street last year received a dry and rather sparse reply. However, it did contain the important sentence:
It is not the role of taxpayers to protect directors and shareholders from the consequences of their decisions.

Vince Cable and the parliamentary party will be holding the Chancellor to that.
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