We may as well let Nick Leeson hand out bailout cash

I am aware that readers might be getting fed up of me raving on about the lack of direction some banks are receiving from their new owner UK plc, but I hope they will forgive me for mentioning the following incident.

A colleague who is as incensed about this subject as I am recently wrote to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to ask when he was going to instruct the banks to use the money that has been provided to get the economy going.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the reply was that the PM was too busy to reply to someone whose taxes contribute to his inflated salary.

My colleague was informed his letter had been passed to the Treasury, which is responsible for managing the government’s investment in banks.

After four weeks and one reminder he received a reply from a Treasury spokesman. I won’t depress you by reproducing the letter in its entirety but feel it’s my duty to advise you of the current state of thinking at the Treasury.

The spokesman kindly advised my colleague that although his department had provided billions of pounds of funding to these banks in exchange for a stake in the businesses, it is the Treasury’s policy to manage these investments “at arm’s length”.

It is therefore government policy to allow the management teams that brought the economy to its knees to use public investment as they see fit.

Perhaps the Treasury should have gone the whole hog and asked Nick Leeson or Bernard Madoff to help distribute the taxpayers’ billions.

John Toogood

Debt Free

By email