The Great RBS Robbery….
The government is having a dreadful time; #CashforCameron and a Budget that is bombing, it’s really not surprising they are nosediving in the polls. On top of all this, the NHS Risk Register has now made an appearance – well done to the brave souls that leaked this draft so we can see just how misled we have been about the potential for disaster built-in to the dreadful NHS Reform Bill. However, they are still busy trying to conceal yet more bad news from the British public. It emerged yesterday that the government is in negotiations to sell a proportion of its shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland to buyers in Abu Dhabi.
This sale, if it goes ahead, will be a scandalous betrayal of the taxpayer. Given that shares in RBS are currently trading at roughly half the price the government bought them at this sale could represent a real-terms loss of £1 billion for every £2 billion of the £45.5 we originally invested. In other words, we are going to be losing half of our investment. RBS is a shambles; not only is it not lending to small businesses but it receives as many as 4,000 customer complaints per day; not all of these are reported Financial Ombudsmen but of the 6,553 that were, it upheld 93%. I think we should all bear this in mind when Stephen Hester talks about performance-related-pay.
This is the real reason the government is selling these shares; it can’t possibly be to get good value for the taxpayer because as we have seen this represents spectacularly bad value for the public purse. It is selling these shares so it can wash its hands of any responsibility for executive pay and therefore give the likes of Hester a free-hand when it comes to helping themselves to the till takings. In other words, this is yet another example of the government protecting its own. I think I speak for a few of us when I wonder which of Mr Cameron’s impromptu dinner parties this little wheeze was dreamed up at.
Labour has to be honest. When we bailed out the banks we did not get value for money and we are not seeing the return we should have done and this is because we were too timid in setting terms, too scared to do what was necessary and demand full-spectrum control in return for our money. However, that does not stop us now exposing this giant plundering of the public purse by a government which as it has already rightly been framed is by the rich, for the sole benefit of the rich.