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

If the hon. Gentleman just thinks about it for one moment, he will remember that in October, the banking system and individual banks were facing collapse. I suppose we could have said, "Let's consider our position. Let's wait for several weeks or months while we carry out some due diligence and see what happens." We were in a position last October where we had to act immediately and decisively. I remind the hon. Gentleman that at that time the Conservative party supported us; I appreciate that its position is different now. We had to act decisively, for reasons that most people understand.

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

The government did not act "immediately and decisively". It acted recklessly, and it is dangerous to confuse the two.

Billions of pounds should not be spent buying companies in dire straits without conducting due diligence. By ignoring standard business procedure, the chancellor has exposed the British taxpayer to hundreds of billions of pounds worth of toxic debt.

Even if they could not delay the purchase any further, a full audit of banks balance sheets should have taken place by now. As it has not, we can only assume the government actually thought that they had 'saved the world' and decided a full audit would not be necessary.