Today we are promised a statement from UKFI on the future of the nationalised banks.
I expect to agree with them that Northern Rock should be an early disposal, but I do not agree that all its tricky liabilities should remain with the state. The point of the sale should be to get rid of as much risk as possible.
I expect to disagree over the conglomerate banks. If UKFI say they will wait and then sell shares in RBS and LLoyds at prcies they think more acceptable, I say “No”. These mega banks should be split up and sold in bits, to increase taxpayer value, to cut risks and to create a better structure to Uk banking.
In future the competition authorities should block mega mergers that damage markets and weaken financial underpinnings for banks. ABN Amro and HBOS were mergers that should have been banned. The government was wrong to ignore competition advice and wrong to allow or encourage these mergers. It can now be put right because the government owns the lot on behalf of taxpayers. Its the price of their mistakes that they do so. If they had blocked mega banks earlier we would not be in the pickle we are now in.