Osborne`s shameful sale of 5.2% of RBS demands a question be asked of Labour`s feeble response. The chancellor`s blatant misuse of public money beggars belief, and must surely verge on being fraudulent. Yet the response from the Blairite shadow chancellor is merely to question the timing of the sale, when the bank`s sale price was so much lower than back in February this year.
Osborne gave advance warning of his intention to sell the shares to his City friends at the Mansion House speech early in June, even though the shares were worth £13bn less than the state paid for them. The effect of this pre-sale notice was to lower the share price further; why would they trade in RBS and raise its value, when traders knew they would all benefit from a lower price later? Please don`t tell me that Osborne did not know exactly what would be the result of his warning! Even worse, on the evening of the sale, share prices closed at 337p, yet the sale price was 330p, meaning that the 630m shares were offered to the City at a discount! Talk about selling the taxpayer short! No surprise that demand far exceeded supply, nor that 60% of the shares were sold to hedge funds. Why hasn`t the Labour opposition been shouting about this from the rooftops, or would it encourage the voters to get even more behind Corbyn?
The sale netted £2.1bn, meaning a loss to the country of £1.1 bn. This, by a chancellor who tells us he is so keen to balance the books, and reduce the deficit, that £12bn must be cut from the welfare bill, wages frozen and thousands of jobs cut in the public sector.
What the sale proves beyond doubt, is that the majority of the Labour party has fallen for the Tory nonsense about the need for austerity. How can austerity be justified by a government which is willing to throw away over one billion pounds overnight, in an unnecessary sale?