Peter Hoskin

Selling assets at rock bottom prices - sound familiar?

Selling assets at rock bottom prices - sound familiar?
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So what to make of Gordon Brown's plan to sell off an expected £16bn-worth of assets?  Like Charlie Elphicke over at CentreRight, I have my qualms. As he puts it, Brown has form when it comes to selling national assets at rock-bottom prices. And, in the immediate aftermath of the credit crunch and a recession, the prices he gets for our stake in Urenco, say, or the Dartford crossing, are likely to be rock bottom.  

Besides, there's an unmistakeable whiff of political opportunism about this plan. You can imagine the posturing now: "We're selling off assets we can spare to protect jobs and frontline services, unlike those dastardly Tories..." yada, yada, yada.  This is all about looking serious on debt reduction, whereas, in reality, it could be fiscal irresponsibility on a major scale.

This isn't to say that asset sales can't be part of a package to tackle the debt crisis.  But we may come to rue the timing of Brown's latest political ruse.