Bail-out banks need a strong-arm, not a sell-off

bankThe announcement that Lloyds TSB are back in profit has automatically triggered discussion of the government selling off its 39% share in the bank, back to the private sector. For Labour, it should trigger a discussion on an increasingly interventionist approach to the economy.
Britain’s privately-owned banks were bailed out with billions from the taxpayer when they failed. Cameron and Osborne plan to sell them back to the same people at a cut-price rate. As has been written about Lloyds and RBS in The Guardian, the government wants to ‘sell them off fast, regardless of the loss to the public purse or the damage to the economy.’

Unite backing for continued public ownership of RBS

RBSAhead of the report by the parliamentary commission on banking standards, due to report back this week on the future of RBS, Unite, which represents workers at RBS and 120,000 workers altogether in financial services, has called on the government to commit to the full nationalisation of RBS in which the state currently has an 81% stake. This stands in contrast to statements by Ed Balls which, although opposed to Osborne’s planned sell-off, does so on the grounds of timing only, arguing that selling too soon would damage public finances.

Balls said the Conservatives were putting “politics before economics” by trying to privatise the bank before it has been fully returned to health. The union, on the other hand, believes “RBS should become the ‘dynamo’ to drive the UK out of the economic doldrums through lending and support to businesses and communities”. Continue reading

Labour should look to the TUC agenda

As the labour movement prepares to take to the streets again this weekend, the message it is sending is more explicit than ever: austerity must go.

This year’s TUC Congress took place in a backdrop where governments across Europe have pursued policies attacking the living standards of the many for the sake of a small, powerful elite – including many made up of traditionally social democratic forces. In response, an alternative approach to the crisis has emerged – one that moves away from the tried and failed neo-liberal framework and instead moving towards building an economy based around the needs of the majority of society.

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