Financial Markets

Part of Olympics – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 19th January 2009.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Chancellor of the Exchequer 3:32 pm, 19th January 2009

The Government acquired their shareholding in RBS about five weeks ago. A new management team was put in, and a new chief executive, and one of their jobs was to go through the books and find out what their liabilities were. Until that time we did not have the power to go in and conduct that examination, because it was a privately owned bank; it was not owned by the state. That has been possible only since we got that shareholding and put in the different team. Of course, the reporting requirements of the markets mean that these things are reported to the stock market rather than to the House of Commons. I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that very many people in this country are justifiably angry about what has happened. We need to sort the matter out, and we need to ensure that we can sort out the particular problems in the banks that we own, but above all we need to ensure that we can get credit flowing again.

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Ian Simcox
Posted on 20 Jan 2009 10:10 am (Report this annotation)

I find this hard to beleive. Surely that is what the process of due diligence is for.

Our government spent billions of pounds on bank shares without carrying out an everyday business procedure designed specifically to prevent a buyer being exposed to risks such as these without their knowledge. The scale of their incompetence and panicked behaviour is truly terrifying.