Tories accused of shortchanging public as £26bn privatisation haul revealed


The flaw in Tory thinking about privatisation is obvious; it isn’t about the amount made; it’s about the assets lost.

Every publicly-owned going concern sold by the Tories represents a quick profit now, but a loss of regular income in the future.

It is irresponsible.

Of course, some publicly-held assets, like our shares in Lloyds Bank, were only bought up to stop the business going bust but, as this article was being written, the government announced it would not be selling Lloyds shares as expected because of “economic turmoil”.

And then there’s the fact that the Tories have been under-selling shares in public assets – selling them off cheaply to their friends in the city.

Because that’s where these shares are going. There haven’t been any major ad campaigns to encourage members of the public to become shareholders, as there were during the privatisations of the Thatcher years. That was a gimmick for the time, a bribe to get the rank and file to accept the sale of their property into private hands.

So the taxpayer has certainly been shortchanged by the sale of the “family silver”.

But not because it has been sold at a record pace.

Simply because it has been sold at all.

The government has been accused of shortchanging the taxpayer by “selling the family silver at a record pace” after new analysis showed a record £26.4bn raised last year through privatisation.

A final 30% state holding in Royal Mail, 11bn shares in Lloyds Bank and a stake in Eurostar were among the assets sold by ministers in a bid to pay down debt and balance the books.

The multibillion pound bonanza, details of which were compiled by the Press Association, dwarfed a previous high point in 1987 when Margaret Thatcher’s government raised £20bn selling off blue chip names such as British Airways and Rolls-Royce.

This time round, the Treasury dismissed suggestions of a politically inspired “fire sale” and promised there would be more disposals to come. There is speculation that Channel 4 is among those in the future firing line.

“Central to our plan to fix the public finances is the sale of government assets to help pay down the national debt and ensure economic security for working people,” a Treasury spokesman said.

Source: Tories accused of shortchanging public as £26bn privatisation haul revealed | Politics | The Guardian

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4 thoughts on “Tories accused of shortchanging public as £26bn privatisation haul revealed

  1. mohandeer

    ““Central to our plan to fix the public finances is the sale of government assets to help pay down the national debt and ensure economic security for working people,” a Treasury spokesman said.”
    What a load of tosh – asset stripping of state controlled utilities and business models has always historically left any and all countries devoid of economic security. To pretend otherwise is an outright fabrication intended to impoverish the working class while lining the pockets of the wealthier “onward and upward” social groups.

  2. NMac

    Privatisation isn’t about benefit to the public, its all about the nasty Tories and their chums making a financial killing.

  3. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    The sale of our assets to their friends is the biggest theft of all time and these should be reclaimed at cost, less profits made by the companies which purchased them, as soon as we get a proper government in place again.

  4. Terry Davies

    no the reclamation should not compensate the greedy share holders. They have already benefited from taxpayers so the company should be taken back into public ownership. This may expand the state but it will ensure profits can be directed into pensions and the NHS.

Comments are closed.