My Lords, I start by expressing surprise that such a distinguished capitalist as the noble Lord, Lord Boardman, who ran a major bank with great distinction for a number years, should object to the Government getting £22 billion by selling Spectrum. I should have thought that he would be rather pleased about it.
The Government have always recognised that a significant part of the improvement in the public finances came from the sale of Spectrum. But by no means mostly, as the noble Lord would have us believe. It was a one off. If it can be achieved again for a fourth generation, I hope that we shall have his support.
The improvement in the public finances is much greater than the result of Spectrum's sales. The improvement in them by the reduction in payments for unemployment is much greater. The social as well as the financial effects are of enormous importance.