Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, attacked the Government for selling off Northern Rock for “a loss”, saying Mr Osborne would have to explain why now was the best time to sell the bank. “I think there is a question as to whether or not this is the best time,” said Mr Balls.
Well, yes Ed. But it was your lot that agreed to this:
In a letter responding to criticism that the Treasury should have waited to get a better price before selling Northern Rock to Virgin Money last week, the chancellor revealed that the UK was bound by a deal made by the previous government with the European Commission to sell the business before the end of 2013.
In the letter, due to be published today, Mr Osborne said there had only been a “limited window to get Northern Rock plc back into the private sector”.
He added: “Given we were advised that Northern Rock plc would have been likely to remain loss-making [until] at least well into 2012, which would have depleted taxpayer resources still further, agreeing a sale now was even more imperative.”