Dan Roberts has a great column in the Guardian today. He asks the right questions. First, why is the Treasury spending £8 billion of taxpayers money reinflating the housing market? Second, why is the Treasury encouraging this now nationalised bank to increase mortgage lending, when the productive sector of the economy – companies, small businesses et al – are being starved of loans from taxpayer-bailed-out-banks, or else having to borrow at usurious rates?
A superb report from the Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change at Manchester (“An alternative report on UK banking reform”) suggests the answer: The nationalisation of Northern Rock is being treated as an “equity style turn around”, with the overarching objective of protecting and creating value for the taxpayer as shareholder.
“It is not clear whether the banks have been nationalised or the Treasury has been privatised as a new kind of investment fund.”
It makes perfect sense doesn’t it, given that the Treasury is advised on these matters (some would say it has been captured) almost exclusively by bankers? Get reading the CRESC report -its excellent – the first piece of independent, academic thinking on reform of the banking sector to have crossed my path.