Vince on Northern Rock (and public sector pay)

by Stephen Tall on January 15, 2008

It’s been a busy day for our former acting leader, and current deputy leader and shadow chancellor of the exchequer, Vince Cable.

Vince has racked up considerable credit for his prescience over Northern Rock, and his calls for the Government to temporarily nationalise the bank as the least worst option for safeguarding the interests of taxpayers.

He writes about it again on The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, and concludes:

My own preferred option, though I do not advocate it for any ideological reason, is to take the bank into public ownership with a view to selling it when financial markets permit a satisfactory sale. It would of course be necessary to install professional managers. It is premature to say whether the bank has a good long-term future; the answer depends on a close examination of the loan book. Nationalisation keeps open a wide range of options. Since the taxpayer has taken all the risks involved in rescuing the bank, we should also participate in any gain from any disposal.

Vince has also commented publicly on the current public sector pay rows, welcoming the announcement of a 2.45% settlement for teachers, as recommended by the independent pay body the School Teachers’ Review Body:

This settlement shows what happens if ministers approach public sector pay sensibly, respecting the judgement of independent bodies. If the Government approached the issue of police pay in the same spirit, rather than looking for a fight with a group of public sector workers who can’t go on strike, a lot of strife could have been avoided.

Though headteachers have applauded the news, the NUT is considering strike action in protest at what it regards as a pay cut.