Bank share give-away flawed

Prof Philip Booth writes for the Sky News website

Mechanisms to ensure the political acceptability of privatisations should not be rejected automatically, simply because they are inefficient and raise less money for the taxpayer.

Political "buy-in" is important - however the particular mechanism suggested by Nick Clegg, which involves giving 45 million British residents shares in RBS and Lloyds, is flawed.

There would be a tremendous administrative cost - £250m has been suggested – at a time when the Government needs to reduce spending.

Legal records of 45 million shareholders would need to be kept and all those people would be entitled to the information that any company has to send its shareholders.

Many of those people will be suffering from recent tax rises and would prefer the increase in disposable income that would arise from the Government selling the RBS and Lloyds stakes and reducing the pain of recent tax